THE AMOUNT spent on debt collection services at Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) has more than doubled in the last three years, the Donegal News can reveal.
Figures provided through a Freedom of Information request show that last year almost €18,000 was spent on debt collectors to recoup patient’s hospital bills. This is more than double the figure spent at the hospital in 2016 when €8,600 was spent trying to chase down debts. The figure is steadily increasing and in 2017 over €10,000 was spent by the hospital. The Finance Department at LUH send on bills for patients to a debt collector every quarter of the year.
In a statement the Finance Manager at LUH, said: “Letterkenny University Hospital would forward details of bills for patients treated at the Hospital on to a debt collector every quarter of each year. This is in line with HSE National Financial Regulations. The cost incurred by LUH for these services was as follows: 2016 – €8,600, 2017 – €10,040, 2018 – €17,780.”
The Irish Cancer society recently called on the HSE to stop referring patient’s debt to collection agencies and published advice on their website on how best to deal with the charges. The charity said the last thing patients coping with cancer need is the added stress and fear of being hounded by debt collectors.