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When a hospital and debt-collector are one and the same

She owed tens of thousands of dollars to a Florida hospital for the month she had spent there in intensive care after falling into a coma. In addition, she owed tens of thousands more to the specialists who cared for her during her illness. Unfortunately, she was unable to write a six-figure check to cover the bills.

So it wasn't surprising when a debt-collection agency began calling. What was surprising was that the debt-collection agency that was hounding her for money she did not have was owned by the hospital she owed the money to.

The woman's predicament is not an uncommon one. Past-due medical debt owed by Americans is at $75 billion and rising, according to economists. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says about half of all debt collections are the result of medical debt.

Though the company that owns the hospital struggles to turn a profit on health care, it has found that making money in the growing debt-collection business is not nearly as difficult. In fact, the hospital's debt-collection services are now offered to more than 700 other hospitals as well.

According to a recent news article, the company that owns the hospital and collection agency is increasingly focusing on debt collection as a way for it to pay its own $15 billion debt. As it sells off hospitals, the company keeps them as debt-collection clients so that it unloads financially struggling entities while retaining them as a revenue source.

The largest for-profit hospital chain in the U.S. is HCA. It, too, has expanded into debt collection. Its Parallon collection agency brings in more than $40 billion annually.

Many people trying to deal with enormous medical debt come to understand that they will never be able to pay their bills in full. That is why they turn to an attorney experienced in debt settlement to help resolve disputes with creditors and eliminate debt. You can contact Cantwell & Goldman, PA, for more information.

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