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The months ahead will continue to bring changes to the ways we do business.

 

“This is not the end, or even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” These words were spoken by Winston Churchill in 1942 as the tide of World War II began to shift in favor of the Allies. I may be more inclined to quote the British Prime Minister because of my recent presentation in London at the annual meeting of HFMA UK, but I think that the spirit behind this quote really applies to the “changing tide” of health care here at home. The shifts in our industry are just going to keep coming in 2014, and we need to be ready. Change is no longer new. 

Across the healthcare marketplace, we are seeing the beginning of a migration from fee-for-service to fee-for-value. Some providers are still taking little steps, and many are taking big steps. The important thing is that everyone is moving! The transition toward value is no longer up for debate. It is definitely here. In the beginning, we recognized the need for change to a value-based system. Now that there is broad understanding of the need for change, the shift is happening in earnest.

Today, providers are looking for new models of how to thrive in the new landscape. A great example of how to move forward in this environment can be seen in HFMA’s Patient Financial Communications initiative. 

As higher deductibles and other factors increase patients’ responsibility for their healthcare costs, they want to know exactly what their financial responsibilities will be. At the same time, patients who may not have had access to coverage in the past want to know what their new options are. Further, the cost of hospital care may seem out of reach to some patients, and they want to know what help is available and how they can go about requesting it. 

By adopting HFMA’s new Patient Financial Communications Best Practices, hospitals and health systems can ensure that patients have access to the information and assistance they need. These practices help us help patients understand the value of the care they are receiving. Through our program recognizing formal adopters of these best practices, providers will have an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to their patients and communities.  

The best practices were announced at the end of October. Hospitals have already started coming on board. In the months ahead, HFMA will continue to provide you with other resources you need to thrive amid the industry changes that are well under way as we mark the “end of the beginning” of a great new era in health care.

 

Publication Date: Wednesday, January 01, 2014

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