MN bill blocks hospitals from using debt info pre-care

Arguing that such a practice is coming, even if it isn't widely observed yet, Minnesota legislators have approved a bill forbidding hospitals from using information about a patient's medical debt history to decide whether or not to treat that patient. The bill forbids providers from sharing or obtaining medical debt information until after care is delivered. Hospitals are entitled to determine patient income and assets, but only for the purpose of qualifying the patient for charity programs or state and federal reimbursement.

Right now, a small number of providers have begun financially qualifying patients who need elective procedures. That could conceivably disqualify a substantial minority of patients seeking care, as one in five Americans have medical debt, according to research by the Commonwealth Fund.

To learn more about the bill:
- read this piece from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune
- read the bill text

Related Articles:
Trend: Hospitals requiring upfront payments before treatment
HMA adopts tougher collections strategy
Hospitals collecting patient bills up front