Chicago — Jan. 15, 2014 – Led by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and ACA International (Association of Credit and Collection Professionals), an industry task force of healthcare providers, account resolution groups, and others have crafted new best practices for medical debt collection.

Healthcare leaders hope the best practices will be adopted throughout the healthcare industry, offering clear guidance on resolving financial obligations before, during, and after a patient visits a hospital or other healthcare setting. The best practices are designed to improve communication between patients and providers and standardize and better coordinate all business practices related to medical account resolution.

"These best practices provide a much-needed blueprint for hospitals, physicians, and our partners in account resolution to coordinate their activities in ways that respect and benefit patients," said Joseph J. Fifer, FHFMA, CPA, president and CEO of HFMA. "Patients want information that is timely, clear, and concise and deserve a consistent, fair process for resolving payment issues."

The best practices are designed to provide patients with a thorough understanding of what to expect during the payment and collection process. They call for developing consistent, coordinated policies for account resolution so collection agencies and others are governed by a provider’s board-approved policies; developing appropriate channels and best practices for patient communications and account resolution; reporting back to credit bureaus when accounts are resolved (in cases when an account is reported to a credit bureau); and tracking consumer complaints.

"Many consumers are struggling with medical bills today." ACA International CEO Pat Morris said. "These best practices are a balanced step forward for all of the stakeholders involved to better resolve patient medical accounts."

The best practices build on longstanding efforts by HFMA to ensure a common-sense, patient-centered approach to financial interactions, including the Patient Financial Communications Best Practices and Patient-Friendly Billing® project.

About HFMA

The Healthcare Financial Management Association is the nation's leading membership organization for healthcare financial management executives and leaders. More than 40,000 members consider HFMA a respected thought leader on top trends and issues facing the healthcare industry. HFMA members can be found in all areas of the healthcare system, including hospitals, managed care organizations, physician practices, accounting firms, and insurance companies. Learn more.

Contact

Haydn Bush
GYMR Public Relations
(202) 745-5073

Publication Date: Wednesday, January 15, 2014