How and for what time period can we bill the patient and when can't we? 7 Answers as of February 14, 2017

I work for a hospital and we are trying to figure out when it is ok to bill bankruptcy patients. We know that you cannot bill for any accounts occurring prior to the filing date until/unless the case is dismissed. If the case is officially discharged (usually 3-5 years later), the accounts are forever uncollectable. However, what about the accounts incurred after the filing date? Can we bill for them immediately or must we wait until the guarantor's bankruptcy case is officially closed, even if that's 5 years in the future? Being a hospital, we cannot control who creates new debt or when since we cannot deny a patient treatment due to being in bankruptcy like a bank can deny a loan. In other words, for what dates and time periods is the automatic stay effective for?

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David R. Fondren, Attorney at Law
David R. Fondren, Attorney at Law | David R. Fondren
If a co-debtor is in chap 13 you need to file a motion to lift the co-debtor automatic stay. The is none in chapter 7.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 2/14/2017
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Bankruptcy ONLY covers pre-petition debt. So if the debtor incurs new charges after filing, you can bill them and try to collect. I feel your pain.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/14/2017
Eranthe Law Firm
Eranthe Law Firm | Cate Eranthe
The automatic stay applies to pre petition and not post petition debts. Anything incurred after the date of filing should be subject to billing and collection. Timing of the case might not be clear and it would make sense for your organization to have a local knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney discuss each case and the fact scenario with. In some instances cases are filed, dismissed and refiled.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/14/2017
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
You should review this matter with a collection law firm or lawyer. You seem to be talking about a Chapter 13 filing (payments are 36 to 60 months to the Chapter 13 Trustee). Debts after the date of filing are not part of the Chapter 13 filing. Debtors are legally obligated for these debts, and they are not part of the original Chapter 13 filing (which only covers debts up to the date of filing). It is my understanding that the automatic stay does not apply to the post petition filing matters. Lastly, the six year statute of limitations is stayed while someone is in a Chapter 13. So if the case is dismissed, you can collect these matters since you add the time period they were in a Chapter 13 to the statute of limitations which stopped running on the date of filing. A good collection lawyer will cover these matters with you.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 2/14/2017
A Fresh Start
A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
Frankly, a hospital ought to have its own lawyer to answer these kinds of questions and not put the responsibility for making this determination on underpaid accounting and collection staff. Pass the buck up the chain of command ? that is why they are paid the big bucks!
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 2/14/2017
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