Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Our Health Care System Thugs Victimize, Ration Care for Sick and Injured Americans

This is the best health care system in the world? So we’re told by Republicans, who do to laziness allowed by their voters, has tried to address the problem by getting rid of it. Leave it to the private sector. That takes it off their hands, and voila, no work. Republican freeloaders. Oh yeah, small government blah, blah, blah….

What you’re about to read is only the beginning if Republicans pass their own free market health care plan:
NY Times:Hospital patients waiting in an emergency room or convalescing after surgery are being confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside. This and other aggressive tactics by one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debts, Accretive Health, were revealed by the Minnesota attorney general, raising concerns that such practices have become common at hospitals across the country.

The tactics, like embedding debt collectors as employees in emergency rooms and demanding that patients pay before receiving treatment, were outlined … they cast a spotlight on the increasingly desperate strategies among hospitals to recoup payments as their unpaid debts mount.

To patients, the debt collectors may look indistinguishable from hospital employees, may demand they pay outstanding bills and may discourage them from seeking emergency care at all, even using scripts like those in collection boiler rooms, according to the documents and employees interviewed by The New York Times.

In some cases, the company’s workers had access to health information while persuading patients to pay overdue bills … Ms. Swanson did not bring action against the company.
And according to the Accretive, they’ve actually improved care:
An Accretive spokeswoman issued a brief statement, “We have a great track record of helping hospitals enhance their quality of care.”
Here's an interview with the Minn. AG Lori Swanson:

I hope you like these free market solutions:
To achieve promised savings, hospitals turn over the management of their front-line staffing — like patient registration and scheduling — and their back-office collection activities. Concerns are mounting that the cozy working relationships will undercut patient care and threaten privacy.
And here’s where the Affordable Care Act would have stopped all this:
The more than 5,000 community hospitals in the United States provided $39.3 billion in uncompensated care — predominately unpaid patient debts or charity care — in 2010, up 16 percent from 2007, the hospital association estimated.
Uncompensated care would be a thing of the past, instead of a $39 billion cost passed onto those with insurance, if the Affordable Care Act wasn't voted down by an activist conservative Supreme Court.
In July 2010, an Accretive manager told staff members at Fairview that they should “get cracking on labor and delivery,” since there is a “good chunk to be collected there,” according to company e-mails. Employees at Accretive’s client hospitals ask patients to make “point of service” payments before they receive treatment. In March 2011, doctors at Fairview complained that such strong-arm tactics were discouraging patients from seeking lifesaving treatments, but Accretive officials dismissed the complaints as “country club talk,” the documents show. 

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