Slide 1: Hospital billing practices: where do clinicians fit in?

Slide 2:”The health system and its doctors filed 36,000 lawsuits … seizing wages and bank accounts, putting liens on property and homes and forcing families into bankruptcy.”

Slide 3: UVA had “the most restrictive eligibility guidelines for patient financial assistance of any major hospital system in Virginia.“

Retirement funds of $4k “can disqualify a family from aid, even if its income is barely above the poverty level.”

Slide 4: Since publication of this data, the UVA Health System has made several policy reforms, the most significant of which will take effect in 2020.

These changes will:
Emphasize affordable repayment plans always over legal action

Reserve legal action only for bills of $1000+ owed by those with income
> 400% of the federal poverty line

Extend eligibility criteria for financial aid as well as percent debt forgiven

The Food For Thought

Earlier this year, the UVA Health System made headlines for its extreme bill collection and restrictive financial aid policies, which brought legal action against thousands of low-income UVA patients and forced many into bankruptcy. The patients affected included civilians just above the poverty line as well as UVA’s own students and employees. The scale of this case was unusual, and the institution has since changed its policies. However, this serves as an example of the predatory billing practices that exist within the American healthcare system. Read on to learn how UVA addressed these issues. Be sure to ask yourself: what do I know about the billing practices at my institution – and would being better informed allow me to better advocate for my patients?

References

  • Swensen E. UVA HEALTH ESTABLISHES BILLING AND COLLECTION PRACTICES ADVISORY COUNCIL
    UVA Today. October 28 2019. Link.
  • Hancock J, Lucas E. UVA To Cut Back On Lawsuits Against Patients. Kaiser Health News. September 13, 2019. Link.

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