Florida joined what has become a swift national trend towards transparency in both healthcare price and quality. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, “In the past decade, health care price transparency or disclosure has emerged as a hot topic in state legislatures, as a strategy for containing health costs. States, the federal government and the private sector have enacted legal requirements and initiated programs that aim to shed light on the costs of health care services.”
The stated goal of the FL bill is to increase “the transparency and availability of health care pricing and quality of service information to enable consumers to make informed choices regarding health care treatment.” Although Florida is on the leading edge of the movement, they are just now joining the true front-runners, Colorado, Maine and New Hampshire.
Potentially good for consumers, but potentially very challenging for providers.
The scope of the law is far reaching and specific. It goes beyond generally requiring pricing and quality information to be available and requires searchable service bundles with estimated average payments received as well as the facility's financial assistance policies (FAPs) and collection procedures.
Despite the challenge, there is a very good chance that this will have an extremely positive downstream impact on hospitals’ ability to collect patient responsibility as well as their patients’ satisfaction. Although paying more and being more satisfied are often mutually exclusive, in this case there is a direct relationship. According to the TransUnion whitepaper, Uncompensated Care Is on the Rise: Patient Engagement and Best Practices Are the Keys to Keeping It Down, there is great value in preventing surprises and making patients aware of what they’re going to owe in advance of the day of service whenever possible. TransUnion determines, “Communicating payment options to patients early in the process can prevent bad debt—and negative feelings—later.” It not only improves patient satisfaction but also increases patients' propensity to pay.
Along these lines, there is also great value to providers in publicizing their FAP, particularly in FL where it is now the law. For those providers whose FAP is “we’ll take what we can get,” it may be time for an update. In the immediate term, a quick, clean and effective way to establish a new FAP is to provide a patient account financing solution.
About Epic River
Since its inception in 2005, Epic River has been providing financial institutions with software and services for process and revenue improvement. MyLoans, our Patient Lending solution, partners financial institutions and healthcare providers to offer low interest loans to cover patient balances. Practices, surgery centers and hospitals get immediate funding of their patient’s outstanding balances and patients avoid financial harm.