Healthcare Providers Join Movement to Simplify Complicated Patient Bills

Healthcare providers are increasingly joining a movement to simplify difficult-to-understand patient bills, hoping to increase collections lost when patients do not know how much they owe, according to a Healthcare Finance News report.

According to the report, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are increasingly dependent on patients for a larger percentage of revenues, as high-deductible insurance plans become more popular. Therefore, providers are incented to provide a clear, concise statement to each patient to make full payment more likely.

Some companies have gone into the business of providing patient-friendly bills, according to the report. Valley Forge, Pa.-based PSC Info Group specializes in converting confusing statements into a format that is attractive and easy-to-read. The company believes that the accessibility of the patient's bill accounts for at least one-third of overall patient satisfaction.

Hospitals are joining the movement too: In 2008, Valley Presbyterian Hospital in San Fernando Valley, Calif., instituted a system to generate patient-friendly estimates for patients entering the hospital on an inpatient or outpatient basis. The system automatically calculates the patient's financial responsibility, allowing hospital staff to provide upfront estimates of how much patients will have to pay.

The hospital's point-of-service collections rose 112 percent, translating into $1.5 million in cash flow per month, according to the report.

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