AAHAM eNewswatch
Dec. 26, 2012

The staggering cost of an Epic EHR might not be worth it
From June 20, 2012: The cost of the electronic health record made by Epic Systems has some hospitals and hospital systems forking over huge amounts of money — sometimes at the cost of operating performance. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine argues that hospitals don't need to saddle themselves with such an expensive system and can instead rely on a variety of tools for managing health care.More

Hospitals demanding payment upfront from ER patients with routine problems
Kaiser Health News and The Washington Post
From Feb. 22, 2012: In 2011, about 80,000 emergency-room patients at hospitals owned by HCA, the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain, left without treatment after being told they would have to first pay $150 because they did not have a true emergency.More

The confusion of hospital pricing
The New York Times
From May 2, 2012: Hospital charges are all over the map: According to a report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, fees for a routine appendectomy in California can range from $1,500 to — in one extreme case — $182,955. Researchers found wide variations in charges even among appendectomy patients treated at the same hospital.More

Perfect your collections to increase revenues
Modern Medicine
From March 14, 2012: Whether your billing is done in-house or by an outside agency, it's imperative that your office staff be assertive in collecting monies due at patient visits. For the many patients whose insurance coverage is provided by managed care organizations, those monies are usually copayments. In today's healthcare system, the copayment is a large part of the compensation for services rendered, and it offsets a portion of the cost of care.More

More hospitals demand payment on the spot
The Record
From Jan. 25, 2012: Hospitals increasingly ask patients for cash deposits or credit-card imprints before they undergo surgery or high-priced tests. They know it's easier to collect when the patient is in the waiting room, anxious to get a medical problem diagnosed or treated. Under intense financial pressure, hospital financial executives no longer wait months to bill the patient after insurance has paid.More

Creating accountability for patient experience
HealthLeaders Media
From Feb. 29, 2012: Any story that attempts to discuss ways to improve the patient experience should attempt to define it, because there is ample confusion in healthcare, even among otherwise highly competent leaders, about what patient experience actually is. It isn't providing excellent quality healthcare — at least not totally. A basic assumption by patients is that when they receive a medical intervention, the actual medical care will be excellent. Rather, patient experience is much more comprehensive.More

More care up front for $54 a month
The New York Times
From May 30, 2012: A trucking company looking to cut health costs has turned to a novel solution. Becker Trucking pays $54 per employee per month to a primary care provider called Qliance. Employees get unlimited doctor visits, 24-hour email access to the medical staff and same-day or next-day appointments. There is no insurance involved in their primary care; no expensive premiums, no complicated claims, no mysterious denials.More

Some physicians offer service based on monthly retainers
USA Today
From May 2, 2012: Family physician Steven Butdorf of Eugene, Ore., was tired of rushing patients through appointments, tired of insurers denying procedures and tired of paperwork. "The burden of third-party health insurance reached a point where it just wasn't fun to do it anymore. It was burdensome to do it," said Butdorf. "I just decided I was going to pursue a different path." More

Credit card policies catching on among practices
From Jan. 18, 2012: As practices strive to improve collections and reduce costly no-shows, it's becoming more common for offices to require patients to provide a credit card number to secure an appointment. Though the practice is common among other service businesses, such policies may have patients initially bristling when they turn up at the doctor's office. The measure, however, is reasonable to protect practice revenue, according to consultants.More

Legal risks of going paperless
American Medical News
From March 7, 2012: System breaches; modification allegations; E-discovery demands. These issues are becoming common courtroom themes as physicians transition from paper to EMRs, legal experts say. Not only are EMRs becoming part of medical negligence lawsuits, they are creating additional liability. Whatever the future holds for EMRs, it's important that doctors reduce their liability risks during system implementation, legal experts say. More