Hospital Sued Over Claims of ‘Aggressive’ Collection Tactics

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit alleging Olympia’s Capital Medical Center violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

Healthcare Finance reports on the aggressive collection techniques used by the hospital:

An example listed in the suit was from 2012, when an uninsured, unemployed patient tried to schedule a surgery with Capital. The patient offered to pay via a payment plan, and rather than provide a charity care application, the suit said the Patient Access Director decided they “will not move forward with this patient.”

When that patient was informed of the decision to not schedule her surgery, she offered to pay a down payment. A financial counselor explained Capital ‘would not move forward without payment in full,’ even after the patient requested more information about her payment options, the AG’s office said.

Another patient reported that a financial counselor called to see how she would like to pay for an upcoming treatment and offered only two possible options: pay in full and receive a 25 percent discount, or put 50 percent down with a payment plan for the remainder, and told her she had 48 hours to commit to one of these two options or her appointment would be cancelled. No information on charity care or offer to screen her for it was given, the AG alleged. Even after another call where the patient did request charity care information, the counselor told her she could apply on the day of her treatment, but still had to make a payment in advance.