Hospitals have become the focus of increasing media attention regarding billing and collection policies, especially relating to uninsured or underinsured patients. A series of articles in the Wall Street Journal drew so much attention to the fees uninsured patients are charged in comparison with the discounts offered to managed care companies that in July 2003 the federal House Energy & Commerce Committee opened an investigation into hospital billing practices. Patient advocacy groups and other community-based organizations have also used local media to draw attention to billing and collection practices of specific local hospitals.
In December 2003, the American Hospital Association provided its members with guidelines on billing and collections practices. Hospital administrators and Chief Financial Officers may be reexamining their collection efforts in light of all this media attention. It is important for ACA members to be aware of this issue, and you may also wish to initiate conversations on this topic with your health care clients. ACA has developed a letter template (see link below) to assist members in starting these conversations and, hopefully, avert any negative consequences of changing receivables policies.
In May 2004, ACA International released a White Paper on Health Care Billing and Collections, providing the industry’s perspective on the valuable services billing and collection companies offer to health care providers. ACA members may find this White Paper and the supplemental materials assembled to support the paper to be a valuable client relations tool.
White Paper Supplemental Materials:
(Please note this is intended to be a single document. However, because many members’ computer systems may restrict the size of the files they upload, we have broken this into several documents.)