Following is section four of the Patient Financial Communications Best Practices. This section addresses communication for all settings. See the complete Patient Financial Communications Best Practices.

4. Best Practices for all Patient Financial Communications

4.1. Compassion, patient advocacy and education should be part of all patient discussions.

4.2. Providers should have standard language to guide staff on the most common types of patient financial discussions.

4.3. Where appropriate, provider organizations should utilize face-to-face discussions to facilitate one-time resolution.

4.4. Availability of supportive financial assistance should be communicated to patients. Provider organizations should communicate and make financially supportive policies available to the community.

4.5. Service provider should take initiative to communicate with patient.

4.6. All personnel engaging in patient financial discussions (e.g., registration staff, financial counselors, financial clearance representatives and customer service staff) will receive annual training on the following:

  • Patient Financial Communications Best Practices
  • Financial assistance policies
  • Common coverage solutions for the uninsured and underinsured
  • Customer service

4.7. Provider organizations should ensure broader education and awareness of the Best Practices throughout their organization.

4.8. Provider organization should include the perspective of a patient when developing standard language used in patient financial discussions.

4.9. Providers should regularly survey their patients to assess performance against the Best Practices. Results should be shared with staff and leadership for continuous improvement opportunities.

4.10. Communication should be understandable by the patient.

4.11. Communication should include verification of patient information (mailing address, phone numbers, email, etc.) and the patients’ preferred methods for future communication.

4.12. Providers should have technology that gives financial representatives up-to-date information about patient balances and financial obligations.

4.13. In all patient financial discussions, patient privacy should be respected and conversations should occur in a location and manner that are sensitive to the patient’s needs.

4.14. Elective procedures should be defined by individual provider organizations to ensure patients are properly informed regarding their financial obligations.

4.15. Providers should have a toll-free number that is widely publicized that patients can call to receive assistance in financial matters and concerns they may have.

4.16. Provider organizations will have clear policies regarding the handling of patients with prior balances. These policies will be made available to the public.

4.17. Patient discussions will focus on steps toward amicable resolution of financial obligations.