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Patients are satisfied with ED 'exit process'
Uninsured are often reassured
Emergency departments across the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in Great Neck, NY, care for hundreds of thousands of patient each year who are treated and released without being admitted to the hospital.
"For these cases, our registrars have relatively limited amounts of time before, during, and after the delivery of care to attempt to secure the proper insurance information from the patient," says Frank Danza, vice president of revenue cycle management.
This can be particularly challenging when the patient has been involved in a work-related or automobile accident, where no-fault or workers' compensation rules may apply. Patients may not have brought with them the necessary automobile insurance or employer information.
To assist them in understanding their responsibility in supplying the necessary information, each patient is guided by his or her care provider to an "exit process" as he or she leaves the ED.
Demographic and insurance information is validated while patients receive care, so errors can be corrected as they leave. Copay and/or coinsurance amounts also are confirmed. "These can be explained to the patient, and they can settle these amounts before they leave," says Danza.
If necessary, staff confirm automobile insurance or employment information. In the case of an uninsured patient, the financial assistance program is explained, and if appropriate, the patient begins the process of applying for Medicaid.
"We have found that our patients actually appreciate the assistance and clarifications they receive in the exit process," says Danza. "They appreciate that they will not be surprised by amounts billed to them days after they get home."
Uninsured patients, in particular, often leave with a sense of relief. "They know that they are eligible for either a government program or assistance from our health system, which has made their care affordable," says Danza.