Piedmont launches pay-upfront policy for self-pay patients: 5 things to know

Atlanta-based Piedmont Healthcare has launched a systemwide policy requiring patients who will pay for their entire bill to pay 25 percent of the cost upfront before they can receive nonemergency medical services, according to Georgia Health News.

Five things to know:

1. The health system's new payment policy was revealed at the Healthcare Financial Management Association conference in Orlando last week. 

2. Most of the patients affected by the policy fall into two categories: patients who are uninsured and patients with high deductibles. 

3. A Piedmont executive told Georgia Health News that the policy existed in a few of its facilities for a couple of years, but it became systemwide in June. Piedmont operates 11 hospitals in Georgia.

4. "We believe that asking our patients to pay a portion upfront for nonemergency care is a reasonable approach," Matt Gove, Piedmont's chief consumer officer, told Georgia Health News. "And based on our initial feedback from our patients, [they believe] it is reasonable."

5. Piedmont said the payment plan is one way it is working to lessen the effects of unpaid bills on the health system. In fiscal year 2018, Piedmont had a $250.7 million bad debt expense, about 8 percent of its $3 billion in revenue that year, according to the report. 

Read the full report here.

More articles on healthcare finance: 

CFO Jon Sohn on Ascension Wisconsin's cost-containment strategies
56% of medical practices expect debt recovery to take at least 3 months, study finds
Most patients faced out-of-pocket costs of at least $500 last year, study finds

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