FICO scores in health care?

This caught my attention.

Healthcare Analytics is working on a “sort-of” medical credit rating the likes of which banks (and many other institutions) currently use to judge a consumer’s credit worthiness. Hospitals will use the score to determine patient’s likelihood of paying medical bills. The company says the score will only be used after care has been delivered.

Here’s my issue: patients often come back to hospitals/clinics. How are those hospitals/clinics going to prevent discrimination against patients who have had trouble paying bills in the past? Will treatment be refused? I know that is illegal in ERs but what about in the hospital or clinic setting? At the least, will low-score patients’ care be of the same quality as those patients with higher scores?

Some critics have raised security and privacy issues with the data. But this doesn’t concern me as much–I think workable solutions can be found to limit data and identity theft.

But some good: hospitals could better predict collection rates. And if this data could be used before a patient is treated, it would allow health systems to better allocate charity care instead of those charges ending up in the bad debt category on the balance sheet.

Here is some more.

Do you have any reservations?

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