Recommendations crafted by HFMA’s Medical Debt Task Force are intended to improve the medical account resolution process for patients and providers alike. The best practices provide guidance on resolving financial obligations before, during, and after a patient visits a hospital or other healthcare setting. HFMA partnered with ACA International (Association of Credit and Collection Professionals) and gathered a task force of stakeholders to develop these common-sense best practices.
Healthcare providers and their business partners using the best practices will be able to:
- Lay the groundwork for successful account resolution by educating patients and following best practices for communication prior to the time of service.
- Make bills and all communications clear, concise, correct, and patient-friendly.
- Establish policies for account resolution and ensure that they are followed internally and by business affiliates.
- Be consistent in key aspects of account resolution—from billing disputes to payment application.
- Coordinate account resolution activities with business affiliates to avoid duplicative patient contacts.
- Exercise good judgment about the best ways to communicate with patients about bills.
- Start the account resolution clock when the first statement is sent to the patient.
- Report back to credit bureaus when an account is resolved (in the event that an account is reported to a credit bureau).
- Track all consumer complaints.
- Use best practices, principles, and guidelines to inform their organizational approach to medical account resolution.
- To guide provider/patient discussions about payment: HFMA’s Best Practices for Patient Financial Communications
- To develop clear, concise, correct, and patient-friendly bills: HFMA’s Patient Friendly Billing® Project
- To support fair collection and payment practices by account resolution business affiliates: ACA International’s Health Care Collection, Servicing and Debt Purchasing Practices Statement of Principles and Guidelines
- To help ensure that business affiliates maintain the highest standards of conduct: ACA International’s Code of Ethics and Code of Operations