Debt collection company Accretive Health will do anything to make sure those past due medical bills are paid up. A recent tactic embeds debt collectors among hospital staff, so they can harass patients about past debts before they can get care. Debtors are asked to make credit card payments in the emergency room before being admitted, and the collectors will even ask ER patients to get their checkbooks from the car to make a payment. Accretive Health has also targeted delivery rooms, “since there is a good chunk to be collected there”. Employees of Accretive Health are offered incentives such as gift cards for raking in collections and employees that do not collect well are threatened with termination.
Doctors at one hospital had begun to complain that these harsh tactics would keep people from seeking the medical care they need, but officials from Accretive claim this is nothing more than “country club talk”. It’s funny to think there are people that do not think America desperately needs health care reform, when we live in an era where you have to talk to a debt collector to see a doctor. It’s even more disturbing to know there are people willing to pester someone over money while they are having a medical emergency, all in the name of getting a paycheck and some gift cards.