Picture this: You rush your child to the emergency room, only to be greeted at the door by someone who looks like a hospital employee, demanding payment for a previous medical bill before your child gets treatment.
Sound crazy? Not if the hospital you rush to has a contract with medical debt collection company Accretive Health.
According to the Minnesota attorney general, Accretive Health regularly places employees in hospitals and tries to collect debts from people about to go into surgery, labor and delivery, or the emergency room. It’s likely that many patients believe the debt collectors are hospital employees, and think they won’t get care unless they pay up. In the process, the attorney general alleges, Accretive has access to private medical information about patients, in violation of various federal laws.
You can read more about Accretive’s aggressive and possibly illegal debt collection tactics in today’s New York Times article.
In the meantime, if you are struggling with medical debt, check out Nolo’s article on Managing High Medical Bills.