The Healthcare Financial Management Association has issued new guidelines for hospitals to better communicate with patients regarding their financial obligations.
The guidelines offer recommendations for providers both during patient admission and discharge, and seek to clarify the best times to talk to patients regarding any sums owed. HFMA officials said a combination of healthcare finance experts and patient advocates developed the guidelines. Former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt oversaw the year-long process.
"For many people, healthcare financial interactions can be confusing. Complicated payment structures, dozens of different payers, various government programs and complicated forms all play a part," HFMA President Joseph F. Fifer said in a statement. "Because patients are increasingly paying more of their healthcare costs out of their own pockets, clear communication between healthcare professionals and patients is becoming more important than ever."
HFMA created a price transparency task force earlier this year. In 2014, the HFMA will create a new program vetting providers for their level of patient financial communications compliance.
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