Jacob Wonn

Symposium Title

The Big Data Revolution and Its Impact on the Law


In self-pay healthcare markets-such as dentistry, fertility care, and cosmetic surgery-patients commonly finance their treatment on credit. For this reason, many providers in these markets have partnered with thirdparty medical creditors to offer their patients financing options. These medical creditors appeal to patients through deferred-interest financing plans that allow borrowers to avoid owing interest if they pay off their full balance within a given time period; however, patients who fail to do so are charged exorbitant interest rates. Unfortunately, patients frequently enter into these credit agreements without an accurate understanding of the terms and conditions, and providers are not currently required to make any efforts to assist patients in this respect. While the vast majority of these providers are likely acting in good faith, their promotion of medical credit products may nonetheless influence patients to make suboptimal borrowing decisions. In this way, providers may inadvertently contribute to patient financial distress and erode trust in provider-patient relationships. Accordingly, this Comment proposes that healthcare providers engaged in such practices should be bound by the Pennsylvania Credit Services Act-a statute designed to regulate "credit services organizations" that assist consumers in obtaining credit. Whether providers can qualify as credit services organizations will depend upon a showing that they receive valuable consideration in return for assisting patients to obtain credit. This Comment will analyze the plausibility and likely effect of regulating healthcare providers as credit services organizations, and will ultimately conclude that the Credit Services Act offers an immediately practicable, albeit imperfect, safeguard against unrestrained promotion of medical credit.

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