You do not have a medical-specific credit score

A reporter called recently asking if we have any experience talking to clients about their medical credit score.

I haven’t heard much about medical credit scoring since the concept first hit the news last December. A medical credit score, often referred to as medFICO, is described as a tool to rate the likelihood that a patient will pay a medical debt. Earlier this year, the concept of a medFICO score stirred things up with consumer advocates, the media, and bloggers. The primary concern was that healthcare providers would gauge the patient's ability to pay when deciding treatment for patients who require immediate care.

Here is some information about medFICO from the Fair Isaac Web site:

"medFICO" does not exist, nor will any product exist with that name. The term was originally used as a metaphor by some people in the healthcare sector to convey the idea of an analytic "score" to help healthcare providers manage their collections and recovery processes. However some consumers misinterpreted the term to mean something very different — an alleged credit-based score used to determine a person's eligibility for critical medical care.

Fair Isaac is working on tools that would aggregate data to help medical servicers in the areas of collections and recovery. However, their Web site states that they will not be gathering financial or medical information about individual patients; the data will be stripped of all identifying information. It is important to note that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) ensures public access to emergency services regardless of ability to pay.

From what I can tell, the idea is to identify patterns that can help medical providers more accurately predict expenses and revenue (a must for balancing budgets). What do you think? Is there reason for concern or is this just a tool for that will help medical providers better manage their budgets?

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

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