The American Hospital Association (AHA) updated members on Aug. 11 that Kaiser Health News has begun contacting some hospitals and health systems as part of a survey on financial assistance and billing and collections policies. The project is being produced in partnership with NPR and will be featured online and on radio later this year, with surveyed hospitals being identified by name.
Kaiser Health News plans to create a “searchable feature online that will allow readers to select the hospital, see its policies and see how transparent the hospital is about its financial aid and billing and collections practices.”
Organizations that have been contacted by Kaiser Health News and that would like to discuss further can contact Sean Barry, AHA senior associate director for media relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2020, the AHA released updated, voluntary guidelines that outline how hospitals and health systems can discuss financial obligations with patients without getting in the way of needed care. The AHA has asked hospitals and health systems to affirm their commitment to the guidelines. The guidelines represent what the hospital and health system field can do to address issues of coverage, billing and debt collection, and accountability.
The document reaffirms the hospital field’s commitment to: 1) treat all people equitably, with dignity, respect and compassion; 2) serve the emergency health care needs of all, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay; and 3) assist patients who cannot pay for part or all of the care they receive.
The AHA recommends that hospitals and health systems:
- Review billing and collection practices and policies
- Review and affirm commitment to the AHA Patient Billing Guidelines
- Determine if their organization has been surveyed and designate the appropriate person to respond
- Prepare for potential media inquiries