New UVA Health bill collection policies challenge some debtors, won't help all of them

Nearly two months after the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville announced billing and collection changes in response to criticism of its practices, some who still owe the health system are unsure whether the changes will benefit them, according to Kaiser Health News

UVA Health made headlines earlier this year after a KHN analysis revealed that the health system sued thousands of former patients, seized wages and put liens on homes.

The health system subsequently announced billing and collection changes in September and last month established an advisory council to improve billing and collection policies and practices.

Yet thousands of former patients owing medical debt won't see relief under the new rules, according to KHN.

Former patient Denise Nunez still has debt from a $1,500 UVA medical bill dating to 2014, according to the nonprofit news service, but she won't get any relief because UVA Health's changes only apply to people treated in July 2017 or later, the system's CFO, Doug Lischke told KHN.

And even patients treated in July 2017 or later told KHN they face challenges getting information about the debt relief and uncertainty about whether it will help them.

The health system said it won't file lawsuits against patients unless their balances exceed $1,000;  families make more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level; or there are "unusual circumstances."

Chris Ghaemmaghami, MD, CMO of the UVA Medical Center,  said the changes "are a first step, and we look forward to hearing feedback and input from the advisory council on additional ways we can better serve our patients as well as improve fairness and transparency."

Read the full KHN report here.


More articles on healthcare finance: 

Florida hospital board recoups an additional $1.3M from CMS tied to pre-HCA lease
New UVA Health bill collection policies challenge some debtors, won't help all of them
Miami safety-net health system hopes upgrades will draw insured patients

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