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For More Revenue and Less Grief, Try Charging Less

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, June 1, 2012

A few weeks ago, I got a press release and a follow-up call about a small hospital in Texas, 107-bed Cleveland Regional Medical Center, that boasted of the fact that the hospital's new owner had lowered its price for medical services by 15% effective immediately. Bravo, I thought, you changed prices for services that almost nobody pays full price for, and for those who do, they're already paying lots more than their counterparts with insurance. So I initially declined the opportunity to speak with the hospital's CEO, Patrick Ayers, about the program. But in an effort to determine whether there was anything but puffery surrounding the so-called price cut, I changed my mind.

So we talked. And while the price decrease remains of little interest, the company behind the hospital is intriguing.

First off, Ayers admitted to some PR puffery regarding the press release. "Nothing we're doing is revolutionary," he says. "This is the first step we're taking, but it obviously won't greatly affect anyone with Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance."

It also won't greatly affect self-pay patients either. But it will help some, Ayers argues.

It has always bothered Ayers that in the hospital industry, "they refer to people who are private pay with a sneer."

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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.