OSF HealthCare CFO dares hospital leaders to let go of the status quo

There's a lot of talk in the healthcare industry right now about price transparency and making the billing and payment process more consumer-centric, but the pace of change has been slow.

Traditionally, hospitals centered their revenue cycle strategies on government and commercial payers. But as more patients enroll in health plans with high out-of-pocket costs, provider organizations need to simplify the process.

Patients want accurate price estimates and billing statements that are easy to understand, and Peoria, Ill.-based OSF HealthCare CFO Mike Allen is challenging hospital leaders to take action to meet these demands.

Mr. Allen has been in healthcare finance for more than two decades and began his term as chair of HFMA's board of directors June 1. In his new position, Mr. Allen hopes to inspire hospital leaders to solve some of the problems in healthcare.

"In my role as chair of HFMA, this year my theme is, 'Dare You 2 Move,'" he said. "One of the things that I talk about … is this issue with clarity of a bill and how easy it is to get prices and transparency. It hasn't moved in 20 years."

Mr. Allen said the lack of progress over the past few decades is disappointing. He understands that healthcare pricing, billing and payments are uniquely complex. However, he's calling on healthcare leaders to come together to find solutions.

"There are complexities to it. But we as an industry need to figure out how to get the complexities off the consumers' plate, put that in the background so they don't have to see it, and come up with a better and simpler approach for them," he said.

At its core, "Dare You 2 Move" is about taking action to narrow the gap that exists between how things are and how they could be. Mr. Allen hopes hospital leaders will accept his dare to provide patients a simple way to get prices and offer a better experience for patients in the billing process.

"A challenge that … I'm offering out as part of my presentation to the national association and the members that I interact with is, let's stop talking about these things and let's go get them done."

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