More hospitals and providers are looking at billing processes and how to improve the patient financial experience early on, when patients are shopping and requesting pricing. Some Revenue Cycle initiatives are working with patients to trod through the quagmire of in-patient bills and take out the surprise factor after discharge.
- Providers need to understand their prices and the financial responsibilities of their patients up-front. This will allow them to engage the patient at the point of service so that they can at least ensure the patient understands their responsibility and hopefully collect some or all of it at that time. Physicians already know it’s very difficult to collect from patients after-the-fact, especially if their responsibility comes as a surprise.
- Providers will be forced to find cheaper and more effective ways to deal with their patients problems because the out-of-pocket pressures will certainly lead to “shopping around”. Even if you manage to get paid this time, a poor patient experience or any amount off doubt on the part of the patient could cost you a customer in the future.
Easy-to-read billing and better financial counseling before a procedure will go a long way in bringing in more money, experts said.
Recent issues continue in 2018 for hospital administrators in these areas:
Hospitals and administrators should work within their frameworks to create, implement and execute a transparent cost analysis in their billing arrangements and present this information to patients in plain English.
Having a clear rationale for pricing and internal and external processes and tools for sharing and explaining the data will help providers present a compelling story to consumers fully empowered to choose care from multiple providers.