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The North East Regional Urgent Care Association (NERUCA) Governmental Affairs Committee recently notified members via email about a freshly minted New York budget rule that includes provisions that effectively prohibit urgent care (UC) operators from requiring patients to leave credit card information on file for payment. Most UCs require a card on file so they can collect the appropriate out-of-pocket responsibility after claims adjudication. However, the new law, General Business Law 519-a, essentially eliminates any means for UCs to pursue fair debt collection measures. NEURUCA said in part: “Removing our ability to keep a credit card on file for these patients to use to pay their co-insurance/deductible responsibility further jeopardizes the likelihood that these balances will ever be paid, in essence leaving us no option but to absorb this bad debt and continue to offer the public our services with no guarantee of payment, an operationally untenable situation.” NERUCA is asking members to reach out to their elected state representatives in New York. The state is home to 875 UCs that chart 11 million visits annually, according to the association.

Even if they do:  “The logic is that medical debt under $500 is not reportable on a credit report. However, if that debt is charged to a credit card, then a patient’s default on the credit card is in fact reportable because that’s consumer/revolving debt,” says Alan Ayers, MBA, MAcc, president of Experity Consulting and Senior Editor of JUCM. “Lawmakers want urgent cares to notify patients of this fact when they voluntarily leave their credit card on file for payment.”

UCs in NY Can No Longer Require Credit Cards Kept on File