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A hospital in Wynne plans to require some of its patients who are seeking non emergency care to pay upfront for their care. This seems to be a growing trend in small nonprofit facilities. They plan to start within the coming months.

A Wall Street Journal article last year said it is unknown how many hospitals are requiring upfront payment such as this. In 2006, the Journal reported, about 14% of nonprofit hospitals responding to a voluntary survey by the IRS said they require upfront payments or payment arrangements before admitting patients.

Because of bad debt, patients facing higher deductibles and co-insurance than in the past, these are the reasons for the change. Critics say that this is only going to get worse as the economy remains in a downslide.

As a consumer in this economy, I would have to agree with the critics because people are losing their homes and jobs. They are having problems meeting their utilities, car payments, and credit cards. It seems to consumers that medical bills are quite a distance behind the cost of having the necessities of life.

This post written by: Leona Crowe, Legal Assistant to Sach Oliver

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