RCM tip of the day: Educate patients about separate billing at time of service

To ensure timely payment for services, hospitals should properly educate patients about separate billing, said Rebecca Farrington, chief revenue officer at Healthcare Administrative Partners.

Separate billing occurs when patients receive two bills, one from the hospital and another from the physician, for one visit to the radiology department, emergency department or lab. Ms. Farrington said this can confuse patients, which often results in payment delays. She said the Healthcare Administrative Partners call center reports 25 percent of patients make a phone call to see why they received separate bills.

She recommends educating patients when they receive care.  

"Let the patients know about the separate billing with a quick explanation, along with a handout for them to take home. The handout is important because patients are processing a lot of information during their visit, and they usually don't retain much of what they hear," said Ms. Farrington. "A sign in the waiting area can be effective as well.  Finally, providing this information on the website is a must, whether in a patient portal or with other information about the service or billing department, as patients are using this tool more frequently."

If you would like to share your RCM best practices, please email Kelly Gooch at kgooch@beckershealthcare.com to be featured in the "RCM tip of the day" series. 


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