South Georgia hospital offers 50 percent discount on overdue bills

Charlton Memorial's deal is good for only a few days on delinquent payments

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FOLKSTON, Ga. - Charlton Memorial Hospital is giving patients who are overdue on medical bills an offer they may not be able to refuse.

But they only have a few days to accept the offer.

Patients whose bills are past due at least 90 days as of Feb. 28 will be given a 50 percent discount if they pay by March 31.

The offer, approved by the hospital's board of directors, will help generate much needed cash for the nonprofit hospital in Folkston and help many patients who are struggling financially because of the bad economy.

Kim Savage, the hospital's comptroller, said the hospital is owed more than $6 million in past due accounts.

"We realize it's hard times for everybody," Savage said. "There are people without jobs who don't have the wherewithal to pay their bills. We thought it would be a service to the community."

Savage said the offer also helps the hospital avoid the expense of hiring a collection agency to collect the overdue bills.

The hospital has contacted overdue customers by telephone, fliers and through local media to make them aware of the offer, she said.

"So far, the response has been good, but it's not as good as we hoped," she said.

Charlton County Manager Steve Nance said many overdue bills would likely not be paid without the offer.

"If they would have offered a 15 to 20 percent discount, they may not have gotten a response," Nance said. "The perception is many of these old bills wouldn't have been paid. They're getting a good response for the effort."

The county is one of the beneficiaries of the offer, Nance said. The hospital recently sent overdue notices for medical treatment of jail inmates and the county is paying those bills at the discounted rate.

"We're saving the county money for jail inmates," he said.

Savage said patients with overdue bills who can't afford to take advantage of the offer should still call the hospital because some arrangements can be made to pay the bill. Hospital officials can also help find grants and other means to help patients with their overdue bills.

Contact the hospital's business office 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays to make payment arrangements. Call (912) 496-2531 for information.

"It's a great deal," Savage said. "It's not often a person can say they got 50 percent off on their health care.", (912) 729-3672

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disssman 03/19/10 - 11:41 am
Maybe they should have done

Maybe they should have done what the CONS and the AC advocate. Just let em die if they don't have insurance. Actually it looks like they are afraid of the soon to be encated change in health care. Is it possible someone might start looking at the actual cost for services?

PUPPYMOMMA 03/19/10 - 01:50 pm
50% off is a good deal but

50% off is a good deal but it"s just as far away as a million if you don't have a job. It's kinda like a credit card. I f you have trouble paying the minimum payment, you call up , speak to your creditors and they might lower the interest rate on future purchases but say there is nothing they can do about your outstanding balance. So you quit paying because you have to eat or pay your bills when your work is gone. Then, the same creditor will call, perhaps 3-4 times a day. When they realize that you are not going to pay anymore, BINGO! All of a sudden they have a great deal for you. "We will accept 50%off what you owe if you can pay by such-and-such day." If you couldn"t make the minimum payment to start with, how are you going to come up with the sweetheart deal money now? People need jobs, then they can pay their bills.

Riverman1 03/19/10 - 02:00 pm
Really, guys, who is going to

Really, guys, who is going to pay for it if the patient doesn't? Don't think I am uncaring about those who don't have insurance or money to pay. I'd have free clinics for those folks. It would be rudimentary care, but free as the wind because it was paid for by me and other taxpayers.

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