During this June 20, 2017, HFMA Forum webinar, Judy Parker, enterprise director, patient access at Presbyterian Healthcare Services, described her health system’s award-winning patient financial communication program.
Key takeaways from the webinar include the following:
Evaluate staff and their understanding of revenue cycle terms and processes. It’s natural to assume your staff understands key terms and tools, says Parker. However, assuming too much can cause miscommunication between staff and patients if staff don’t have strong revenue cycle knowledge. “Frequently and randomly, ask your employees to explain Medicare benefits, how to read an insurance card or eligibility response, or how to determine patient benefits. What they know and do not know will become evident,” says Parker.
Provide financial information in writing. A letter outlining patient financial responsibilities is a tangible way to give patients a feeling of security about the information provided as well as a reference about the financial discussion.
Emergency, labor, and ICU patients. Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) regulations require that no financial discussions occur until after emergency patients complete their medical screening examination. Similar rules are required for laboring patients. ICU patients are stabilized before finances are discussed, while financial responsibilities are discussed with terminally ill patients but no pressure to pay is applied.