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Medical Liens – Healthcare & Law’s Proverbial Catch 22

While meeting financial demands may be nothing new for healthcare facilities, for today’s medical providers a legal climate exists that has been described as an ‘economic gauntlet. Just keeping the lights on for some healthcare facilities is an issue facing far too many healthcare providers. How does this issue affect you? Let us explore this question.

Nationwide medical care providers deal with tough issues daily, in part such issues range from; rising operational costs, State and Federal funding cut backs, reduced corporate donations created by a tough economy, and Federal legislation ensuring emergency medical care for all patients. Granted while such challenges are just a sample of the issues facing America’s medical providers, make no mistake, these issues alone are reason enough for a “fiscal juggling act” providers face as demands increase while capital is decreasing.

For the federally subsidized medical institution, each provider is compelled by Federal statute to provide emergency medical treatment to all patients, irregardless of the patient’s ability to pay. To date; the financial impact such regulation has on medical providers has been defined by recent statistics that show over 50% of all emergency patients admitted annually have no proof of insurance at the time of admission. So what’s the correlation? Patients who receive emergency medical care benefit from the current legislation, as each receives medical treatment without a guarantee of financial responsible for such treatment. For medical providers the losses associated with patient care is absorbed as taxable deductions as well as passed on as increased healthcare costs to insured patients. Thus insured or not this situation affects us all.

For the healthcare providers who are profitable, a “taxable write ” for uncollected patient accounts provides an advantage, but for medical provider whose write offs exceed revenue, there’s a real paradox. For providers to meet fiscal demands while not generating sufficient capital to meet overhead, and yet expected to provide quality care, well is too much being asked? Not if you’re a patient who’s standard of care falls below that guaranteed by national standards.

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