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Hospitals mine data to identify those likely to pay

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 20, 2009
Services such as credit scoring help nonprofit hospitals identify patients who qualify for charity or free care, those eligible for discounts and those who should pay the whole bill. "It's a sign of the times in healthcare," said Kevin Bloye, a Georgia Hospital Association vice president. "Hospitals can use this as a tool to determine who can pay and who can't." But the use of credit scores in analyzing patients' finances has triggered criticism for nonprofit hospitals. Many are trying to tamp down a reputation as aggressive bill collectors while their tax-exempt status gets heightened scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators.