Healthcare Dollars and Sense

“How much will I have to pay? What is included in the price? What if I have trouble paying?”

Now more than ever, people are asking questions about the price of health care. They are called on to make more decisions and pay more out-of-pocket for the services they receive. And they increasingly expect a financial experience that is on a par with their other consumer experiences. Healthcare Dollars & Sense provides industry-consensus recommendations and best practices for meeting consumers’ rising expectations, helping consumers make better healthcare decisions, and improving the patient financial experience. Healthcare Dollars & Sense has four components: price transparency, patient financial communications, medical debt resolution, and consumer education.

Best Practices for Resolution of Medical Accounts

In an environment where patients are paying more of their own healthcare expenses, hospital and health system finance leaders want to be confident that they are handling patient financial responsibility in accordance with best practices. This revised and updated report offers concrete, detailed recommendations that encompass all phases of the medical accounts receivable resolution process. It addresses questions like the following:

  • What is the role of patient financial communications and transparency in efforts to resolve an account?
  • How can providers and business affiliates improve collaboration to efficiently resolve accounts in a patient-friendly manner?
  • How should hospitals approach the decision about whether to use extraordinary collection actions?

This report reflects the consensus of a task force of industry experts. It is designed to be used in conjunction with HFMA’s other Healthcare Dollars & Sense resources featured on this page.

HFMA’s Consumerism Maturity Model

Explore a new tool for assessing and improving your organization’s patient financial experience. This tool incorporates and builds on all elements of HFMA’s Healthcare Dollars & Sense. 

Determine your organization’s consumerism maturity

Take a self-assessment and use our online calculator to discover the consumer maturity level of your organization. 

Price Transparency

Patients are being asked to act as consumers in a marketplace in which price—a fundamental driver of consumer behavior—is often unknown until after a service has been performed. As patients’ financial responsibility for healthcare costs has grown, so too has media and government scrutiny of the healthcare marketplace. This report presents recommendations for improving price transparency developed by a blue-ribbon task force convened by HFMA. Discover recommended roles and responsibilities of hospitals and health systems, physicians and other care providers, and health plans. 

Patient Financial Communications

These common-sense best practices bring consistency, clarity, and transparency to patient financial communications. They outline steps to help patients understand the cost of services they receive, their insurance coverage, and their individual responsibility. This report includes sections on communication in the emergency department, at time of service outside the emergency department, and in advance of service. Also included are practices that apply to all patient financial communications. Finally, the practices include a framework for measurement to determine compliance.  

Additional Resources

Patient Financial Communications Training

Programs for patient access staff.

Patient Financial Communications: Advance of Service

Patient Financial Communications: Time of Service

Patient Financial Communications: Emergency Department

Receive Recognition for Achievement

FAQs about receiving recognition for adopting the Patient Financial Communications Best Practices.

Consumer Educational Guide

Download a consumer guide to understanding healthcare prices and obtaining a price estimate.

Patient-Friendly Billing Resources

Everything you need to develop clear, concise, correct, and patient-friendly bills.