Often, neighbors welcome people who’ve just moved into the neighborhood by dropping by with a basket of muffins or inviting them over for coffee. Castleview Hospital in Price, UT is turning that on its ear, though, by inviting residents living near its new urgent care center over for an open house.
In recent years, it’s become one of the biggest trends in patient-friendly communications: Informing patients up front about the estimated cost of healthcare services and offering options to help them address their financial responsibilities. But that proactive communication does not apply in fast-paced emergency departments (ED) where timeliness takes precedence over financial matters.
Patients can forgive certain things, but making them wait too long is almost guaranteed to translate into a negative opinion about their experience, no matter what else may have happened during their visit.
Nearly three in five Americans (56%) delay paying their medical bills. Late payments, along with self-pay revenues that are never collected, add to the financial stress healthcare organizations experience as they attempt to optimize reimbursements and increase revenue while adapting to new value-based payment models.
Americans feel healthcare costs are too expensive, with 79% of consumers expressing affordability as the biggest obstacle. With this in mind, the top three reasons patients delay paying medical bills include unexpected high deductibles (42%), confusion regarding what their insurance will cover versus what the patient owes (30%) and patients receiving bills for services they do not think they are responsible to pay (30%).
This report from West’s Engagement Center Solutions gives an in-depth analysis patient payment and proposes ways to increase patient engagement to reduce payment cycles.
Health system administrators and fans of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”) have been lauding the fact that employment in the healthcare industry has been climbing since the ACA was implemented. While that may be factually correct in terms of overall numbers, it is also true that health systems have been cutting jobs strategically in order to cut payroll expenses.
Hospitals and health systems have been taking a hard look at how they can maintain financial stability in recent years. As you’ve read here, many are venturing into urgent care, both on and off campus. Now, some are taking another step toward becoming everyday community health providers by offering, essentially, primary care in their emergency rooms.