New Policy Goes into Effect at Elbert Memorial Regarding Income Garnishment to Collect Bad Debt

August 28, 2014

One possible solution to collecting bad debt at Elbert Memorial Hospital will soon be implemented.

That measure is income garnishments.

Patient Financial Services Director Jessica Clark said Tuesday that a new policy has been put together that would begin the process of garnishing income sources on accounts that owe five hundred dollars or more.

That would happen if information on patient’s employers or income sources could be gathered, and garnishments would only happen on accounts that have not been actively paying.

Clark says this is a process that is going to require the full support of the hospital authority board.

“The biggest thing is really actively pursuing garnishments. I want to encourage everybody if you get a phone call from someone we hit with a garnishment, to stand behind us, because it is only going to work if we have 100 percent support”, said Clark.

An outside company will do all the extra work when it comes to the garnishing process, and could only pursue garnishment with Clark’s approval.

“Because we are not going to give the right to go after any and everybody; it has to be looked at by me and approved”, said Clark. “If I am not here it’s in there that the CEO or CFO would have to do the approval. So it has to be signed on by us before they can proceed.”

CEO Jim Yarborough says this measure is more of a last resort type of option when it comes to trying to collect bad debt.

“We feel like we were doing everything possible to collect bad debts short of taking legal action and garnishing income, but we are now adding that step based on the board’s interest in doing that”, added Yarborough.

Yarborough says the implementation of this new policy could get ugly, but could also open the door for more cooperation when gathering information to see if patients can qualify for charity care services.

The new policy is an administrative one, so no vote was required from the board to approve the policy.