“Hospitals and doctors have a moral and legal obligation to treat patients medically in emergency situations and to do it in a compassionate and fair way. In doing so, medical providers face a dilemma. In order to assure hospitals remain financially viable and available to patients, they must assist these same patients in making financial arrangements for payment. Hospitals desire to do that in a sensitive and appropriate way, however, currently there are no clear standards to help guide their efforts. This collaboration is an effort to provide clear standards to help medical practitioners continuously improve – while at the same time, providing patients with tools to help them know which hospitals and doctors follow the national standards.”The selected SDO will convene relevant stakeholders from the health care industry – including patient advocates, small and large health systems, privacy experts, physicians, insurers, Medicaid advocates, state Medicaid officials, trade organizations and others – to evaluate current counseling, billing and payment practices. They will inventory existing standards, collect information on industry best practices, solicit public input, establish requirements for voluntary consensus standards and select a national accrediting body to certify the standards. Accretive Health and other interested organizations with responsibility to assure respectful and compassionate treatment of patients will be invited to participate. It is anticipated that the conveners will organize in May and commence their work in June. Because of the importance of this issue, Accretive Health, along with participating health care organizations, will provide financial resources for the creation of the group, which will act independently of any institution or health care organization in creating national standards for accreditation. Neither Accretive nor any of the health care organizations that provide support or input will play any role at all in the activities of the panel other than being interviewed by the independent Standards Development Organization to collect data. The participating organizations will have no insight into the panel’s conclusions until they are final and announced.
In a statement, Accretive Health CEO Mary Tolan invited others to join in the standards-setting process and expressed the Company’s intent to earn full accreditation:“We believe strongly the industry will benefit from a thoughtful, independent, collaborative review and process, and we feel confident the industry will welcome this as a solution to a difficult, but critical challenge every patient and medical provider shares. We believe we have been a positive part of the process to date in our work for leading health care providers, helping thousands of formerly uninsured individuals get coverage for care. We hope this group becomes the gold standard for compassionate and fair patient interaction, reducing system errors and anxiety among patients about their cost of care, and making sure they are informed about coverage options regardless of their ability to pay.” ABOUT ACCRETIVE HEALTH Accretive Health partners with healthcare providers to help them more effectively manage their revenue cycles, strengthen their financial stability, and improve the quality of care they provide while reducing overall healthcare costs. Our people, processes and sophisticated integrated technology complement our clients’ existing resources to enhance results for patients, physicians and staff. For more information visit www.accretivehealth.com.