Healthcare providers work tirelessly to give patients the best possible care. Care and attention is paid at every step of the process, leading to successful outcomes. Then comes the HCAHPS survey, or another post-discharge data collection, and the numbers often are not as high as they could be. Why? Because the patient experience is affected by confusion and irritation connected to unexplained and often indecipherable bills and billing procedures delivered after discharge.
According to a 2016 survey by Copatient, around 72 percent of American consumers reported being confused by their medical bills, and 94 percent said have received medical bills they considered to be too expensive. Hospitals and other providers can miss a huge opportunity to improve patient satisfaction scores, not to mention collections, by offering information and education on billing procedures.
The medical bill can be complex. Here’s what it usually contains:
And all that doesn’t even touch on the Explanation of Benefits, or EOB. That’s the document sent to insured individuals after a claim has been submitted by their provider. It explains what medical treatments and services the patient’s health insurance company agreed to pay for and what is left owing. This is often when patients begin to have serious questions about the whole bill, and when the dissatisfaction can really ramp up. From questions that were not asked on their part, to coding or other errors on the provider’s, confusion and miscommunication are common.
Medical billing’s inscrutability isn’t going to be easily solved, because the complex system of coding, charges, payments and reimbursement is unlikely to de-complicate any time soon. Still, there are tangible and logical steps providers can take to boost patient engagement and satisfaction. Here are some medical billing tips:
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