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Healthcare Roundup: Downside of Medical Bill Financing, State of Emergency for Respiratory Illnesses in OR & More

November 18, 2022 (1 min read)

Medical Bill Financing Adding to Patient Debt

Hospitals and other healthcare providers have traditionally offered patients interest-free payment plans to help them manage their medical bills. But providers have increasingly been relying on payment plans provided by financing companies, which promise to collect more of the money owed to the providers in exchange for a cut.

The downside for patients is that the financing companies often charge interest, only adding to the patients’ debt, in some cases thousands of dollars over the length of the financing term. One in five adults, roughly 50 million people, are currently on a financing plan for medical or dental services, about a quarter of which are paying interest, according to a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KAISER HEALTH NEWS, KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION)

OR Gov Declares Child Respiratory Infections Emergency

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) declared a state of emergency last week due to the overwhelming surge of viral infections, including the flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, among infants and children. The governor’s office said in a statement that the emergency order would “give hospitals additional flexibility to staff beds for children, allow them to draw on a pool of medical volunteer nurses and doctors, and take other steps to provide care to pediatric patients.” (OREGONIAN [PORTLAND])

Pandemic Taking Toll on Primary Care Doctors

A survey of over 9,500 primary care physicians in 10 wealthy countries, including the United States, found that the workload for most physicians has increased since the start of the pandemic, that physicians under the age of 55 are more likely to be experiencing stress and burnout, and that some physicians feel their quality of care has declined. The survey, commissioned by the Commonwealth Fund, also noted that half or more of physicians over 55 indicated that they planned to “stop seeing patients within the next three years, leaving a primary care workforce made up of younger, more stressed, and burned-out physicians.” (STAT, COMMONWEALTH FUND)

-- Compiled by KOREY CLARK


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