Providence responds to New York Times billing practice report

Providence has shared the internal message it sent following the New York Times' Sept. 24 report regarding the Renton, Wash.-based health system's alleged billing practices. 

In the Sept. 29 letter — which was posted online Oct. 3 — chief financial officer Greg Hoffman called the allegations "shocking and upsetting." 

"As I read the story, I did not recognize the organization that was being described because it is not the organization we serve, I am sorry you had to read it, and I want to assure you that what was shared in the paper is not an accurate reflection of who we are," Mr. Hoffman said. 

Mr. Hoffman called the crux of the Times' allegations — that Providence intentionally changed its policy to send those who were eligible for charity care to debt collections — "categorically untrue." Instead, Mr. Hoffman placed the blame on an unintended error that occurred when the system switched from a manual process to an automated one, causing some Medicaid patients to receive collection notices. He said the error was brought to Providence's attention in December and was fixed. 

Providence will reimburse about 760 Medicaid patients whose accounts were sent to debt collectors, including interest accrued. Mr. Hoffman said they are also reaching out to the patients featured in the Times report to "talk with them about their experience and ensure they have the financial assistance they need." He also said Providence provided charity care to more 266,000 people in 2021 and absorbed $1.2 billion in uncompensated care costs. 

"Again, I recognize how painful it has been to read and process the recent news coverage," Mr. Hoffman said. "It has been hard for us all, especially our financial counselors and revenue cycle caregivers, who serve those in need with respect and compassion every day."

Read the full letter here

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