Michigan hospital updates upfront payment policy


McLaren Greater Lansing (Mich.) has adjusted its policy that required patients to pay upfront before an elective medical procedure, according to the Lansing State Journal.

The 310-bed tertiary teaching hospital previously required prepayments of estimated out-of-pocket costs upfront, including copay and deductible, CFO Dale Thompson told the newspaper. In some cases, patients had to make the payment or postpone the procedure.

Under the updated policy, patients instead will be able to acknowledge they understand their portion of the estimated costs.

The updated policy excludes urgent or emergency care, just as the previous version did. Procedures weren't canceled under the previous version of the policy unless physicians or other providers signed off, Mr. Thompson told the Journal.

The policy change came after hearing the story of a man who postponed a catheterization procedure for more than two weeks while he collected his upfront payment.

Brian Brown, a spokesperson for McLaren, told the Journal hospital officials subsequently reviewed cases with patient advocates, which found the policy was being applied more precisely by some staff than others. He said the updated policy aims to align more with high-deductible health plans.

Read the full report here.


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