Medical Service Providers Under Scrutiny for Aggressive Medical Billing Collection Practices

Posted on: 10 June 2020

Medical billing lawsuits and wage garnishments are ways hospitals and businesses collect bills. But as more aggressive collection tactics are used, hospitals are being accused of predatory behavior. Even worse, they could be sued for medical debt malpractice. As the risk of reputational damage increases, hospitals and other medical service providers must carefully manage the medical billing collection process. 

Rich Hospitals and Poor Collection Practices 

Aggressive medical bill collection practices have been under the spotlight since the COVID-19 crisis. Seven percent of 414 hospitals examined in a recent study of hospital billing practices were found to engage in predatory medical bill collection practices. The average annual revenue of these litigious hospitals was just under $1 billion. 

The garnishment of bank accounts and personal property as hospitals receive large government grants has especially raised eyebrows. Since April 1, the government has paid $72 billion in grants to hospitals and healthcare groups. The recipients include for-profit hospital groups. Some of these same recipients have been on the losing end of hospital billing fraud suits.

Disgruntled, watchdogs are outing hospitals with bad collection practices. 

Win-Win Medical Billing Solutions 

Non-adversarial medical billing solutions can improve debt recovery and avoid costly legal action. Here are just a few options. 

1. Educate and explain: Out-of-network charges, doubling billing, and medical billing denials are common patient complaints. When a patient has an unexpected billing, knowledge asymmetry is often at the root of the dispute. The patient could be satisfied with an explanation of the charges and how to avoid such surprises in the future. If they were denied payment coverage because of a missed filing date or they have made a double claim, they will know how to avoid these errors in the future. 

2. Adjust fees to demonstrate good intent: If the patient has been charged list price charges, a policy of lowering the fees, up to the insured cost, shows your willingness to assist the patient as they learn from errors and familiarize themselves with the medical billing process.

3. Conduct due diligence to ensure fair medical billing practices: If your medical service group is responsible for a billing error or oversight of a medical policy in your state, you want to find it before it becomes public in a billing malpractice lawsuit. When a patient cannot pay, the following due diligence should be performed. Ensure that all insured charges have indeed been charged to insurance companies, to establish a viable payment plan, and to adhere to all state pricing and reimbursement policies for lower-income earners.

These assistive steps help avoid creating an adversarial relationship between the patient and the medical bill collector. And crucially, they can help avoid aggressive collection practices and lawsuits. Learn more by contacting medical billing services.