As trusted sources of health care in the community, America’s hospitals and health systems are committed to providing quality and safe care to all individuals, as well as delivering a care experience that meets patients’ needs and expectations from scheduling through payment.
With respect to financing care, the field is united in:
- Treating all people equitably, with dignity, respect and compassion;
- Serving the emergency health care needs of all, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay; and
- Assisting patients who cannot pay for part or all of the care they receive.
The American Hospital Association’s voluntary Patient Billing Guidelines outline how hospitals and health systems can best serve their patients and communities, and underscore their commitment to ensuring that conversations about financial obligations do not impede care, while recognizing that determinations around financial assistance require mutual sharing of information by providers and patients.
By signing this affirmation, you pledge that your hospital(s) and/or health system will adopt the AHA Patient Billing Guidelines. Specifically, the organization:
- To the best of its ability, assists individuals in accessing available coverage;
- Communicates clearly and directly with patients about their financial obligations and assists those who qualify for financial assistance to obtain it;
- Applies consistently and fairly its financial assistance policies; and
- Assures leadership review and accountability for implementation of its billing policies.
The Healthcare Financial Management Association, an industry leader in health care finance, offers tools and resources for improving the patient financial experience.
Understanding Healthcare Prices: A Consumer Guide (Spanish language version). This resource helps consumers understand their health insurance coverage and identifies questions consumers can ask to get information needed for decision making. It includes information for uninsured patients as well. Designed for hospitals and health systems to post online as a consumer resource. Available in English and Spanish.
Avoiding Surprises in Your Medical Bills: A Guide for Consumers (Spanish language version). The AHA, HFMA and America’s Health Insurance Plans partnered on this guide to help patients understand the questions they can ask to help avoid paying more than expected for health care services. Designed for hospitals and health systems to post online as a consumer resource. Available in English and Spanish.
HFMA’s Healthcare Dollars & Sense initiative provides industry-consensus recommendations and best practices for meeting consumers’ rising expectations, helping consumers make better health care decisions, and improving the patient financial experience. Healthcare Dollars & Sense resource include:
- Price Transparency in Health Care. Guiding principles and recommendations for improving price transparency for consumers are presented in this report developed by a blue ribbon task force. Roles and responsibilities for hospitals and health systems, physicians and other care providers, and health plans are addressed.
- Patient Financial Communications Best Practices. Designed to bring consistency, clarity and transparency to financial interactions with patients, these best practices outline steps to help patients understand the price of services they receive, their insurance coverage and their individual responsibility.
- Best Practices for Resolution of Medical Accounts. This report offers concrete, detailed guidance for managing patient financial responsibility, encompassing all phases of the medical accounts receivable resolution process.
Maturity Model Measurement Tools for Consumerism in Healthcare. This comprehensive model of the patient financial experience enables hospitals and health systems to assess their consumerism efforts and identify areas for improvement. The model explores the world of health care from the consumer’s viewpoint and the activities consumers commonly encounter when seeking and receiving health care services.