Your Patient is Angry. Is it Your Fault? Part 2
A patient requiring surgery after breaking both legs is told after discharge that, while her hospital participated in her health plan, the surgeons and a few other doctors did not. To the tune of $15,000 in additional charges.
The Consumer Reports survey (which we also referenced in Your patient is angry. Is it your fault? Part 1) “gauged public sentiment” over expensive healthcare practices and included the following ire-inducing incidents:- A hospital charge for $37.50 for a single Tylenol pill
- An MRI order for a patient because the physician owned the machine
- A $1,000 per pill charge from a hepatitis drug manufacturer
While these are extreme, there is an undercurrent of patient experiences that have gone wrong at the time of billing that cannot be ignored. In the current environment of patient consumerism, patients who are unhappy with their treatment — bedside through billing — may choose another provider the next time around. Perhaps worse, they’ll blog, tweet or Facebook chat about it. No healthcare provider wants that.
Of course, every circumstance of patient anger is not the provider’s fault, but taking responsibility for a long-term, far-reaching self pay solution definitely is. In Part 1 of this series we looked at the provider’s role of non-stop communication as part of a solid self pay strategy. Taking a step further, patient-friendly statements and the provider’s commitment to helping the patient navigate and understand the statement is the next step. Indeed, finding that "no surprises" sweet spot where the provider ensures that the patient understand the charges and the patient commits to resolving the balance is well worth the effort. In fact we highlighted an excellent example in the “aha moment” post from Robb Rood, Sales Executive, last month.
Simply put, straightforward patient statements that are simple to understand and digest, that clearly reveal a patient’s responsibility, significantly increase your likelihood of payment. Looking for specific statement tips? Start here.
Of course there are a number of additional things you can do to minimize the possibility of nonpayment by angry and/or confused patients. Check out the resource center at our website and stay tuned for more blogs about the subject, because with healthcare becoming ever more complicated, we have a feeling this is not going to go away any time soon.