Accretive Health, Inc. (NYSE: AH) announced today that prominent health care and policy leaders have agreed to convene to develop a process for implementing national standards for how hospitals and other providers interact with patients regarding their financial obligations.
This process will create first-of-kind national standards for understanding expected charges, available resources, counseling, billing and payment procedures regardless of the ability to pay. An independent accreditation process will accompany the new standards, providing patients with assurance that they will be treated compassionately and fairly.
The group will identify and select an independent non-profit Standard Development Organization (SDO) to conduct a collaborative process among practitioners, patient advocates, and other interested parties. Once concluded, the group will advance the identified standards to a national accrediting organization.
Accretive Health initiated this process in order to provide clarity and consistency among providers and, as a result, help ensure a more uniform and transparent experience for patients as hospitals work to become more financially stable and bring down the cost of care.
The following noted health care and policy leaders have agreed to serve as independent conveners of the process:
Michael O. Leavitt
– Former Secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, three-term governor of Utah and former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He is currently the founder of Leavitt Partners, which specializes in the health care field, and has led numerous large public and private collaborations.
– Former U.S. Senator from South Dakota, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and is a respected health care thought leader. He is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a member of the Health Policy and Management Executive Council at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Bill Frist, M.D.
– Former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, nationally recognized heart and lung transplant surgeon and health care thought leader. He was the 2010 Distinguished Professor of Business and Medicine at Vanderbilt University.
Jamie Gorelick, J.D.
– Partner at the international law firm, WilmerHale, formerly served as U.S. Deputy Attorney General, General Counsel of the Department of Defense, Assistant to the Secretary of Energy, and as a member of the 9-11 Commission. She currently serves as co-chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Ethics.
Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D
– Director, Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, former Administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He is a physician and economist.
Donna E. Shalala, Ph.D
– President of the University of Miami and former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and accomplished scholar, teacher and administrator. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, in 2008.
Gov. Leavitt, who will lead the group, made the following statement about the collaboration and the need for standards: