A bill clarifying medical debt collection practices has been signed into law by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The legislation tweaks a law enacted last year that provided California patients with sweeping protections on how hospitals and collection agencies could recoup unpaid hospital bills and created clear rules on who qualifies for charity care.
The law enacted last year requires that any extended payment plans offered by hospitals to patients be interest-free.
The new law, sponsored by a California debt-collectors trade group, specifies that hospitals extended payment plans may be declared no longer valid if the patient fails to make all consecutive payments due during a 90-day period. Defaulting on the payment plan can be reported to consumer credit-reporting agencies and civil court action can be taken. The bill passed unanimously in both houses of the California Legislature.
The California Hospital Association supported the bill. -- by Rebecca Vesely
What do you think? Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your letter to Modern Physician Online at [email protected]. Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.