5 Jan 2012

Medical debt collection regime stuns American Samoa

12:44 pm on 5 January 2012

Patients at American Samoa's LBJ Hospital are complaining about a new policy which they say has taken them completely by surprise.

Since last weekend, the hospital has been requiring patients to first pay 10 per cent of any unpaid bills from prior treatment or medication before they can be seen by a doctor or be issued prescriptions.

The hospital had not publicised the change.

One man who went to the hospital pharmacy on Saturday to get pills for his son was told that he first had to pay 10 per cent of a 2,000 US dollar debt.

Senior hospital staff said they had not been informed of the new policy and only learned about it when people started complaining.