2017 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Section 17B:30-47 - Procedures for participating hospitals.

17B:30-47 Procedures for participating hospitals.

7. a. The following procedures shall apply for those hospitals that wish to participate in the voluntary assignment program created by this act.

b. The hospital shall file with the department a notice signifying its intent to participate voluntarily and certifying the following:

(1) the hospital has determined that the patient is not eligible for charity care under the New Jersey Hospital Care Payment Assistance Program established by the Department of Health pursuant to section 10 of P.L.1992, c.160 (C.26:2H-18.60);

(2) the hospital has submitted a "clean claim" pursuant to P.L.1999, c.154 (C.17B:30-23 et al.) and P.L.1999, c.155 (C.17B:30-26 et seq.) to the patient, a responsible party, Medicaid, Medicare or a health plan, as applicable, within a reasonable time following the patient's discharge, or in the case of outpatient service, the date of service;

(3) the claims have been fully adjudicated by a health plan, Medicare or Medicaid, where applicable, and a debt remains outstanding;

(4) the hospital has not initiated collection procedures against the patient or responsible party while a claim was pending adjudication with Medicare or a health plan, for which a debt remains outstanding;

(5) the hospital has notified the patient of the hospital's intention, if the account is not paid in full, or alternatively through a payment plan with the hospital, to proceed with legal action, or to turn the bill over to the department for collection. c. Nothing herein shall be deemed to create any new right to collection of hospital debts by hospitals beyond existing law; nor shall it be deemed to preclude any existing right to collection.

d. The department may determine the content of the notice required by paragraph (5) of subsection b. of this section to the patient concerning the likelihood that the account will be turned over to the department for collection.

e. The minimum amount of an unpaid bill that may be assigned to the department by a hospital is $100, or such other minimum as the department shall determine by regulation.

f. Upon receipt of the voluntary assignment, the Department of the Treasury shall send, on behalf of the department, a notice to the person named as a debtor of the hospital, notifying the person as to receipt of the assignment by the department, providing the person with 30 days to challenge the validity of the debt, and providing notice that in the absence of such challenge, a Certificate of Debt will be filed with the Superior Court of New Jersey. The notice shall also include a statement on the department's intention to take action to set off the liability against any refund of taxes pursuant to the "New Jersey Gross Income Tax Act" including an earned income tax credit, a NJ SAVER rebate or a homestead rebate, or other such funds as may be authorized by law.

g. If the person named as a debtor responds within the 30-day period, the person shall be provided with an opportunity to present, either in writing or in person, evidence as to why the person does not believe he is responsible for the debt. The department shall provide written notice to both the person and the hospital as to its determination regarding the validity of the debt, including the imposition of collection fees and interest, if applicable.

h. If the person fails to respond within 30 days to the department, the department may utilize the provisions of the Set off of Individual Liability (SOIL) program established pursuant to P.L.1981, c.239 (C.54A:9-8.1 et seq.), to collect any surcharge levied under this section that is unpaid on or after the effective date of this act.

As additional remedies, the department may utilize the services of a collection agency to settle the debt and may also issue a certificate to the Clerk of the Superior Court stating that the person identified in the certificate is indebted under this law in such amount as shall be stated in the certificate. The certificate shall reference this act. Thereupon the clerk to whom such certificate shall have been issued shall immediately enter upon the record of docketed judgments: the name of the person as debtor; the State as creditor; the address of the person, if shown in the certificate; the amount of the debt so certified; a reference to this act under which the debt is assessed; and the date of making the entries. The docketing of the entries shall have the same force and effect as a civil judgment docketed in the Superior Court, and the department shall have all the remedies and may take all of the proceedings for the collection thereof which may be had or taken upon the recovery of a judgment in an action, but without prejudice to any right of appeal. Upon entry by the clerk of the certificate in the record of docketed judgments in accordance with this provision, interest in the amount specified by the court rules for post-judgment interest shall accrue from the date of the docketing of the certificate; however, payment of the interest may be waived by the department.

i. Any collection efforts undertaken pursuant to this act shall be undertaken in accordance with the "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996," Pub.L.104-191 and 45 C.F.R. 160.101 to 164.534, or any other similar law. The department and any other entity performing collection activities pursuant to this act is authorized to enter into any agreements required to comply with such laws, including, but not limited to, entering into agreements with the hospitals and collection agencies to provide for appropriate safeguarding of information.

L.2003, c.112, s.7; amended 2010, c.87, s.9; 2012, c.17, s.70.

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