3,100 hospitals and health care systems are now giving patients a secret credit score before they are seen or treated. (See the video embedded at the end of the article).
Thousands of hospital’s and health care providers use Experian’s “Patient Financial Clearance” system to determine who will receive medical care based on their ability to pay their bills.
Experian likes to use superfluous words to hide the fact that their system determines who will receive medical care.
“Using comprehensive data and advanced analytics, our Patient Financial Clearance solution makes the payment process a positive one by assessing and assigning each patient to the appropriate financial pathway based on their unique financial situation.”
‘Comprehensive data and advanced analytics makes the payment process a positive one’ is just corporate jargon for using data-mining to determine if a patient is a good credit risk.
As you know, companies like Experian make their money by data mining a person’s credit history and assigning them a credit score.
In 2017, Kaiser Health News reported that the big-three credit reporting companies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) would start including medical debt in people’s credit ratings.
Looking for new ways to make money, Experian has changed the way hospitals and health care systems treat patients.
Experian’s “Product” page explain’s the real reason hospitals and health care systems are assessing patient’s credit scores.
“To increase point-of-service collections and reduce bad debt you need to quickly and easily determine which patients qualify for financial assistance and which patients have the propensity and likelihood to pay—prior to treatment.”
‘Prior to treatment’ hospitals and health care providers use Experian to determine how much profit they will make from a patient, based on their ability to pay.
Big Brother has come to the health care industry
Experian’s Financial Clearance system allows hospitals and health care providers to look at a patient’s credit score in real-time.
“Patient Financial Clearance determines which patients are likely to pay and connects those that potentially qualify for financial assistance with the right programs. Now you can recommend the appropriate financial pathway for every patient, in real-time.”
Keith Axline from The Tools We Need warns,
“The Financial Clearance system combines medical records along with the financial records Experian already has on you to calculate the score. Since they have a network of hospitals reporting this kind of data, separate visits to different hospitals by a patient are no longer silo’d. There is now a number, that you can’t see, that follows you wherever you go.”
Axline also warned that, ‘if there is something wrong with your health or the health of someone you love, a company [Experian] would decide if it thinks you’re a good customer for the hospital.’
One has to wonder if a person will be denied an ambulance or emergency room care because Experian thinks they are a credit risk.
Ashley Reede, an information systems and privacy consultant said, “we’re really relying on other people’s ethics, There’s no built-in controls for this program.”
And that is a huge problem that will only get worse over time because no one knows what formulas Experian uses to rate patients with.
“As consumers, we need to be aware of the records being kept on us,” Reede said. She also said, “medical providers have an unparalleled access to your sensitive information – they have your credit card, social security number, the last four times you’ve been to the doctor.
Big Brother has no business in health care.
Like China’s infamous social credit scoring system which determines what types of government services a person has access to, patient credit scores will fundamentally change how people are treated in America.