Hospitals across Ireland are turning to Professional Debt Collection Agencies in a bid to combat unpaid fees.
The HSE, which is responsible for public Health services in Ireland, using debt collection companies to chase up debts. The debts are for statutory charges such as €100 emergency department fees and €80 per night inpatient bills that have not been paid.
Some of Ireland’s largest hospitals in Limerick, Galway and Cork have been utilising Debt Collection firms to combat the growing problem of unpaid medical fees. The Debt Collection Agencies are being used to chase up on the collection of the statutory charges when patients have failed to settle unpaid medical invoices.
Some Politicians in Ireland have spoke out against the tactics employed by the HSE. Louise O’Reilly of Sinn Fein claims the Hospitals are wrong to be using Debt Collection Agencies.
She commented saying “I don’t believe that our hospitals should be engaged in the use of private debt collection agencies to harass and threaten patients, many of whom are not in a position to pay these bills.”
The HSE responded by stating
“The HSE seeks to maximise the recovery of income in a socially responsible, ethical, efficient and cost effective way.
“It should be noted that the collection of monies owed is a continuous, daily and large scale process.
If any patient has difficulty paying a hospital bill we would advise they contact their hospital directly to discuss this on a one to one basis.”
The use of Debt Collection Agencies in the UK has also seen a rise of the past 5 years with many NHS trusts reaching out to Debt Collection Agencies to assist with recovering Unpaid Medical Fees.
In America, the Medical Debt Collection industry is worth hundreds of millions of dollars due to the sheer size of the Country.Due to the nature of their Private Medical Health care system, it is said that on average, American’s spend $10,000 per year on Health care.