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Hospital Bills and Collection Agencies

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Liz Pulliam Weston’s Money-Talk column in Sunday’s (1/28/07) Oregonian included a Q&A on a hospital bill payment problem, variations on which we in law libraries hear a lot. The answer was illuminating – and good advice. (My link to this Money Talk column is to the one in the LA Times – the Oregonian link couldn’t be made. This link is actually to 1/21/07, when this column originally appeared – it’s the second story down in Weston’s column.)

In a nutshell, the Q was: “I paid the hospital, which cashed the check but never credited my daughter’s account. I tried to resolve the issue by phone, but the hospital turned the account over to a collection agency.”

In a nutshell, the A was (and read the whole thing – I’m saving it in my reference file): “It’s too late now, but in the future you should begin a paper trail immediately, particularly when dealing with a medical bill. Hospitals and other providers are often quick to offload problem accounts to their collection departments and to outside collection agencies.”

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