Front Street Hospital Case Study

Front Street Hospital: Uninsured Charges and Collections (pg. 237 of Cases in Healthcare Finance, 5th edition)
It is quite clear from the text’s exposition on the policy, billing, and collection habits of certain not-for-profit hospitals that serious injustices were being committed against uninsured patients. These injustices were primarily financial in nature – although physical and psychological trauma almost always followed – and they reveal the systematic nature of the abuse. By setting “rack rates” – an extremely expensive set rate for medical procedures – as the ‘standard fare’ for all patients, while simultaneously granting clear and enormous discounts for those insured through third-party entities, the not-for-profit hospitals unconscionably
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In order to insure successful and systematic reaping of the bills set out, many not-for-profit hospitals erected chillingly uncharitable collection policies. According to the Cases in Healthcare Finance textbook, “not-for-profit hospitals often intimidate and harass uninsured patients through ‘goon-like and predatory collection tactics that frequently scar the patient for life…” (Ch.5, p.238). Frightening consequences awaited patients who could not, in a restricted time period, pay their inflated bill. The insurance providers would often seize a patient’s key assets like cars or threaten to foreclose on their houses, turning a minor medical procedure into a life-collapsing nightmare. Moreover, in a WSJ article published in the early 2000’s, investigative reporters concluded that the health care providers in question “did not tell the uninsured about charity care, did not offer charity care, did not discount bills to the uninsured and aggressively pursued payment”. Making it clear that neither the hospitals nor the insurance companies were in favor of the people they were purportedly serving, but primarily after their …show more content…
The answer is clear – they were not. Aside from their harassment and predatory tactics on indigent patients, their cardinal failure was “avoiding their obligation to provide charitable services as required by their not-for-profit status” (Ch. 5, p.238). Part of the insidiousness of this entire affair was due to the hospital’s pubic and committed mission towards bettering the lives of any and all ailing patients, especially those who would traditionally lack the funds for proper treatment. The specific cases mentioned in the textbook overtly reveal how grossly uncharitable and unreasonable the bill amounts were to underprivileged patients. Over the decades the not-for-profit hospitals, together with insurance companies, created a monolithic system of greedy rewards and gross

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