Georgia Watch Hosts Consumer Workshop in Tifton

November 18, 2010

On Tuesday, Georgia Watch partnered with Tift Regional Medical Center to host a consumer workshop entitled “Affording Hospital Care,” aiming to educate patients and their families on the best ways to manage their hospital debt.

Two sessions were held: a lunch session at noon and an evening session at 6 p.m. At each session, consumers were given information on the best ways to afford their hospital care and financial assistance available to them from the hospital.

Georgia Watch Hospital Accountability Project Director Holly Lang emphasized the importance of being aware of all available options.

“Medical debt is something that can affect any of us at any time. We’re excited to have the opportunity to team with Tift Regional to talk with patients and residents about ways to navigate the hospital’s financial assistance system in addition to other relevant health issues that are important to everyone, regardless of whether you have insurance,” Lang said.

Lang presented a slideshow with information on ways to help consumers minimize their costs.

Georgia Watch Deputy Director Danny Orrock also spoke and provided information on alternatives to using predatory loans to help pay for hospital visits. He stressed that such debt traps should be a last resort for paying hospital debt.

In general Orrock said to avoid title pawns because they are expensive and risky. He also warned of payday loans. Payday loans are illegal in Georgia but some lenders still offer them under various disguises. Georgia Watch is working to rid the state of payday lending for good. You can help by reporting payday lenders to your District Attorney and Georgia Watch.

In addition, Georgia Watch Consumer Outreach Director Ashley Wilson spoke about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP assists low income households who use a large amount of their income to pay for energy. For more information on LIHEAP, click here.

If you’d like to read more about the workshop, The Tifton Gazette covered the event. You can find the article here.