For More Revenue and Less Grief, Try Charging Less

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , June 1, 2012

He says the price decrease, which was instituted Jan. 1, made a difference, but admittedly not a huge one, and it "almost ends up being more cosmetic than anything."

But it does show movement in the right direction in making healthcare more affordable. And Cleveland Regional  is starting to go further.

In an effort to make a bigger difference, Ayers says, "now we've instituted a program where any private pay patient who expresses a desire to pay, but their bill is insurmountable, we discount all the way to the Medicare charge and work out a payment plan."

While Cleveland Regional's approach is far from revolutionary, at least it's evolutionary, which is more than I can say for many of the big nonprofit health systems that have recently gotten into hot water over their collection practices, when they should have known better in the first place.

The difference with Cleveland Regional's leadership is that they're not just ignoring the problem of high prices charged to people without insurance. However small, they're attempting to do something about it by making healthcare a little bit more affordable to those patients, and they're doing the work themselves—not farming collections out to a separate company, and dealing with the fallout when things go wrong.  

It's preferable to getting nothing from this patient class, and loads better than getting less than nothing.

Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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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.




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