For More Revenue and Less Grief, Try Charging Less

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , June 1, 2012

"From a business standpoint, it's a weird thing to accept," he says. "About 10% of our patients are self-pay, so do we accept that 10% of our patients won't pay us? Ford Motor Company wouldn't accept that. So it's a strange business practice. I'm not naïve; it's borne out of necessity with the current payment system."

From a 30,000- foot view, he says, it's easy to forget that these are actually people who are coming not out of choice but because their lives depend on it.

A little context is in order here. Cleveland Regional is the only hospital owned by New Directions Health Systems, LLC, a Louisville, KY-based for-profit company backed by private investors. It seeks to own hospitals in small towns across America. In fact, it bought Cleveland Regional, which lost $11 million last year, last October from Community Health Systems, another for-profit hospital company that owns rural hospitals nationwide.

Ayers spent the last 15 years of his career traveling around the country as a consultant, looking for rural hospitals for others to buy. "I believe that if given a chance, most people will pay for the healthcare they get," he says.

The jury's still out on that question, but he believes the price cut introduced at Cleveland Regional is a start.

"There's not tons we can do, even though that's not right," says Ayers. "It's crazy that nobody pays full price except the people least likely to pay," he continues. "We don't get money. They file bankruptcy. Our discount is not a huge discount, but it's not nothing."

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Comments are moderated. Please be patient.

2 comments on "For More Revenue and Less Grief, Try Charging Less"

CFO (6/4/2012 at 10:19 AM)
I agree that it isn't only the uninsured; however, if there were more regulations put on insurance companies,what they can change and what they can roll to the patient it wouldn't be so insane for the patient to pay the correct portion. With increasing deductibles, co-insurance and premiums the charges continue to rise and the payments continue to decrease. I believe where the boat is being missed is in the Health Insurance field and the ability for people to obtain reasonable helath insurance for a reasonable price.

A doctor (6/1/2012 at 4:40 PM)
You totally and completely missed the point of this issue. It's not about the uninsured; it's about people with insurance who have a copay or a deductible that they feel they do not have to pay since we are already getting paid by the insurance company. They signed up for the insurance, they got the benefit book and they agreed to follow the rules. Now when they need the service they balk at following the rules. If I call a plumber to my house for a leak, you can be damn sure he is going to ask for a check before he leaves the house. When I eat out and try to walk out without paying, even if I was STARVING when I walked in, I get arrested. We are all willing to give to our communities, but when that giving is forced upon us, that is wrong.




FREE e-Newsletters Join the Council Subscribe to HL magazine


100 Winners Circle Suite 300
Brentwood, TN 37027


About | Advertise | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Reprints/Permissions | Contact
© HealthLeaders Media 2016 a division of BLR All rights reserved.