Colbert: Pressuring ER patients to pay debts before treatment a ‘win-win’ situation

By David Ferguson
Thursday, May 3, 2012 8:45 EDT
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Colbert The Word May2
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Wednesday night on “The Colbert Report,” host Stephen Colbert devoted his nightly “The Word” segment to Accretive Health, one of the nation’s largest health care debt collectors. The company stands accused of the highly questionable practice of embedding their employees in hospitals to intercept patients who owe money.

According to the New York Times, the company is facing charges by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, who alleges that Accretive sends its employees into hospitals and puts “bedside pressure” on patients to pay their outstanding medical bills. Accretive denies the charges and is fighting them in court.

Colbert called the practice of embedding debt collectors a “win-win” situation. Accretive employees are trained to intercept patients and stall them, demanding payment before the patient can receive care. If they can stall the sick or injured person long enough, said Colbert, then there won’t be any further medical costs at all.

Watch the video, embedded via Comedy Central, below:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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