The new requirement to post charges online is only the first step of an ongoing process, according to CMS. Simply posting prices online is not enough; patients need the right information at the right time.
Many people do not understand the meaning of basic terms such as “copay” or “deductible.” This soon becomes apparent when registrars try to talk to patients about their bills. Patient access employees need two things to talk about money with patients: empathy and training.
When a man found a surprise bill for more than $5,000 in his mailbox weeks after successful surgery, he did not have to wonder who to call and complain to. After all, he was on the hospital’s patient and family advisory committee.
Patient access employees interact with patients often for routine inquires, to schedule appointments, and at the time of registration. For each encounter, price transparency is part of the focus at Oklahoma City-based Integris Health.
In 2014, New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System instituted a preservice financial collection process that includes coinsurance in price estimates. As a result, more than 90% of accounts are financially cleared ahead of time, either through full payment, a payment plan, payment at the time of service, or financial assistance.
Some revenue cycle leaders are not waiting to find out what new requirements for price transparency will come from regulatory bodies or governments. Instead, they are moving full speed ahead on their own.
The healthcare industry has complained about the difficulty of complying with HIPAA since the law was enacted. Now, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is asking for suggestions on how to make HIPAA more manageable. What changes might actually happen remains uncertain.
Most covered entities and business associates do not appreciate how printers have evolved from “dummy copiers” to today’s complex business machines that include multiple servers built directly into them.