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More hospitals using personal data to assess patients’ ability to pay

Wall Street Journal (subscription required), March 18, 2008
A growing number of hospitals are mining patients' personal financial information to figure out how likely they are to pay their bills. Hospitals say the practice helps them identify which patients to pursue actively for payment, and allows them to figure out more quickly which patients are eligible for assistance programs. Consumer advocates, however, say the practice creates the potential for hospitals to misuse the information by denying or cutting back on patients' care if the hospital decides the patient may not be able to pay.