No one can blame the University of Texas Medical Branch’s clinics and hospitals for billing people and attempting to collect what’s owed. But the medical branch is to blame for the demeaning way some of its employees lately have gone about trying to collect from patients with outstanding bills.

Some patients have complained to the medical branch and The Daily News about loud and embarrassing conversations in waiting rooms as employees tried to collect payment on outstanding bills.

 Laura Elder: 409-683-5248;

(3) comments

Joel Martin

Another excellent article. Thank you Laura.

Charlotte O'rourke

Excellent editorial on a very difficult subject.

“If patients can’t make partial payment, they are medically triaged with their minimum needs addressed, according to the policy.”

Whereas I understand the need for collections on services rendered, I disagree with treating just minimum needs - which may not be the patient’s primary health problem. Making the patient come back for another appointment increases the patient’s medical care costs, transportation costs, time and sick care costs.... and doesn’t treat the chief problem that needs addressed. This is an inherent financial conflict of interest and detrimental to the overall health of the patient.

Have the patient sign a new policy financial waiver so they can be financially prepared to pay something on the outstanding bills with future appointments.

Robert Braeking

I used the UTMB system a couple of times. Both times I felt that they were grossly overpriced. I would only use the UTMB system in a life threatening situation. They must realize that the Houston area is fat with other providers. They are not the only game in town.

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