Smokers rack up higher hospital bills, AHA updates billing and collection guidelines;

> Three former HCA  physicians who were recently fired or forced to leave criticized the national hospital operator Tuesday for mishandling their physician employment strategies, reports The Miami Herald. The physicians said the system was unorganized and laid off physicians after a recent large hiring wave. Article

> The American Hospital Association recently updated hospital billing and collection guidelines to conform to the time. The new guidelines emphasized getting patients financial assistance and treating patients with dignity and respect, regardless of their ability to pay for healthcare. Guidelines (.pdf)

> Our very own FierceHealthFinance editor Ron Shinkman was interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio about aggressive debt collection practices at Fairview Health Services. Investigations continued to probe as to whether Fairview breached federal laws during its debt collection. Article

> Surgical patients who smoke cigarettes ring up higher hospital costs, according to a recent study in The Journal of American College of Surgeons. Results showed that approximately a third of patients either smoked or had smoked in their lifetime, and had more frequent post-operative respiratory complications than non-smokers. Study abstract

And Finally... That old people smell is real. Article