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Hospitals Check Credit Report: Should Patients Worry?

By Faye Mergel
Published: Sunday, September 6th, 2009

People do not apply for a new credit card when they go to a hospital. Nonetheless, the hospital will check their credit report. This is a standard procedure of hospitals, and finance specialists say that consumers should not wonder or worry.

Hospitals Check Credit Report: Should Patients Worry?Reed Fraasa, a financial planner for Highland Financial Advisor, says that signing for hospital admittance means allowing the hospital to look into one’s credit report. “When you signed the paperwork for the hospital admittance you also signed an authorization for the hospital to perform a credit check.”

However, people who have poor ratings or scores do not need to worry. There is a myth that hospitals will not grant a person care when his financial report is bad. John Ulzheimer, who heads Credit.com’s consumer education, says the assumption is not true. He says that hospitals do not use one’s financial score to determine whether they should give care or not. He adds that hospital transaction is essentially a form of credit. Like any other creditor, hospitals must determine the client’s ability to pay them back.

Fraasa continues that hospitals will not deny a person care, no matter how poor his credit report or credit score is. It is in the Hippocratic Oath that the health of a person should be the primary consideration of any medical practitioner. Factors like age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, and social standing do not matter.

Hospitals provide a person with the treatment he needs before talking about any form of payment. Payment comes only after a person is treated. Because of this, hospitals are essentially creditors while the patient is considered debtor.

Peering into the financial report of a person helps hospitals identify which person to pursue actively after treatment, say hospital administrators. They also argue that checking credit reports allows them to minimize losses. Administrators say that they want to avoid losses so they will not have to cutoff on healthcare supplies and facilities.

Finance experts say that this practice is fair enough. However, they warn consumers that their credit report may have been viewed more times than they could imagine. Aside from hospitals, many other companies are interested in looking into a client’s credit report. Experts advise consumers to read fine prints when signing anything. Nobody has the right to access somebody else’s financial report. However, any company is free to do so once a person signs a document which allows them to view his credit report from any credit bureau.

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