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No more 'pill-now, pay-later' at Utah hospitals

The Salt Lake Tribune, May 9, 2012

Two days before undergoing a diagnostic CT scan of her misfiring heart, Jessica Pierce got a phone call from Intermountain Healthcare's Valley View Medical Center asking her to pay for the procedure up front. The 24-year-old college graduate is on her dad's insurance plan. But the billing office was adamant: pay your portion of the bill now or we may not schedule the scan. Consumers pay in advance for all types of goods and services, from groceries and gas to airline tickets. But national outrage over news that a debt collection firm, Accretive Health Inc., placed bedside bill collectors in emergency rooms at nonprofit hospitals in Minnesota suggests Americans view healthcare differently.