UVA reviewing holds on student accounts over unpaid medical bills

The University of Virginia in Charlottesville is reviewing a policy that allows holds on student accounts if medical debt to UVA Health System isn't paid, a university spokesperson told The Cavalier Daily.

The holds are permitted under the university’s Extension and Collection of Credit policy.

As of Sept. 13, 17 students had holds on their accounts due to medical debt, according to university spokesperson, Wes Hester. Mr. Hester told The Cavalier Daily students can't enroll or access a transcript in certain situations if medical bills aren't paid. However, none of the 17 students had this occur.

According to Mr. Hester, students receive a financial responsibility agreement before starting classes, including a "finance hold' section, and that Virginia officials require public universities to have rules regarding students enrolling for the following year when they owe money to the institutions.

University of Virginia's decades-old enrollment holds policy has been spotlighted amid recent media reports about UVA Health System's collection practices, The Cavalier Daily noted.

A special report for The Washington Post earlier this month revealed the health system has sued thousands of former patients, seized wages and put liens on homes for unpaid medical bills. The special report, which highlighted a Kaiser Health News analysis, found that the University of Virginia Health System and its physicians sued former patients more than 36,000 times over a six-year period ending in June 2018.

Mr. Hester told The Cavalier Daily the holds are a last resort when students haven't set up a payment plan or made other plans to address their medical debt, and the policy is being reviewed.

UVA Health System has already announced various new policy changes regarding collections. The policy changes, with a Jan. 1 effective date, will apply to patients treated in July 2017 or after.


More articles on healthcare finance: 

Business services are as important as clinical: Why University Hospitals developed a patient financial bill of rights
Air ambulance memberships may still result in high medical bills
CMS blasted for nearly 2-year delay in payout of Medicare performance bonuses

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