3-credit-report-agenciesThe credit bureaus have agreed to implement a six-month delay before reporting medical debt on a consumer’s credit report.  This sounds great for consumers, but I’ve always been concerned with downstream ramifications. Cash rich hospitals and hospital systems will be just fine. They’ll barely notice another six months before collections kick in. But what about the rural hospitals or safety-net institutions that operate under significant financial stress? I don’t pretend to know how this change will impact collections rates, but I do know when cash flow is tight, delays are the enemy.

The New York Times did an excellent job of reviewing the change, but one line stood out to me. “The three companies will also establish a six-month waiting period before reporting medical debts on consumers’ credit reports, providing more time for consumers to resolve issues that might amount only to a delayed insurance payment or another dispute.”

As a healthcare consumer I can certainly appreciate the challenges of paying unexpected deductibles, out-of-network emergency costs or fighting to get a bill straightened out between the patient, insurance, the facility and potentially several physicians.  However, as a software provider to banks and hospitals, I’m curious how this will impact the already dreadful collection of patient responsibility.  Will this change put additional constraints on small to medium independent hospitals?  Will cash strapped institutions need to increase cost of service across the board to mind this new collections gap?

While the short-term consumer impact is clear and positive, the long-term impact on hospitals and their communities remains to be seen.

About MyLoans™

By providing patients with fast access to medical loans at a fair and unchanging interest rate, the MyLoans™ software by Epic River enables financial institutions to ease the financial stress of health care through collaboration with medical providers. Not only can medical providers offer patient financing for medical care needs, but doctors and hospitals alike can finally get immediate funding of their patient’s outstanding balances. Additionally, financial institutions gain new customers and interest income with little administrative overhead in exchange for servicing the loan. For more information, visit www.myloans.co.

About Epic River, LLC
Since its inception in 2005, Epic River has been providing high quality software services aimed at solving process-intensive problems. With a focus on high quality and rapid delivery, Epic River’s methodology accelerates the process of innovation while keeping a firm grasp on the business case behind the application, enabling our partners to grow their market leadership. The company’s unique approach to the agile methodology and user experience ensures both parties work closely together every step of the way. Whether you’re looking to expand into new technologies or markets, need a custom internal tool, assistance with architecture, or simply need someone you can trust to make technology decisions, Epic River is at your service. For more information, visit www.epicriver.com.