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For More Revenue and Less Grief, Try Charging Less

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, June 1, 2012

Recently, many senior hospital and health system executives who are otherwise leading their health systems brilliantly through a rapidly changing healthcare reimbursement system have been tripped up, and in some cases, let go, for a decidedly old-school reason: debtor harassment.

I say old-school because while the flap over Accretive Health's debt collection tactics might seem like news, only the names and places have changed in eight years. The problem is the same.

Haven't they learned from their predecessors? One of the first big stories I did for HealthLeaders magazine, back in 2004, involved overly aggressive self-pay debt collection and the huge problems it caused for hospitals and health systems, from regime change to loss of nonprofit status.

I wrote it nearly eight years ago—so long ago that even the Internet has forgotten about it.  So perhaps I should cut leaders some slack. I would, except for the fact that this type of mistake is so easily avoidable.

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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.