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Clark Fulton, Health care, Public Health

MetroHealth receives recognition for financial communications with patients

(Plain Press, July 2014)MetroHealth Medical Center, Cuyahoga County’s public hospital system headquartered on W. 25th Street in the Clark Fulton neighborhood, received recognition from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) as the first health care organization in the nation to adopt HFMA’s Patient Financial Communications Best Practices.

The award, from the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the nation’s premiere membership organization for healthcare finance leaders, recognizes MetroHealth Medical Center as the first healthcare system in the nation to demonstrate excellence in financial interactions with patients.

Over the past year, MetroHealth implemented a single patient statement combining both physician and hospital services. The statement was created with the help of a patient focus group. MetroHealth also created an online interactive tool to promote education and understanding of the new statement. HFMA reviewers lauded MetroHealth for prominently displaying information about its financial assistance program on its website. MetroHealth’s website also offers a glossary to help patients understand billing and payment terms.

“This is a huge step toward achieving our vision of becoming the most admired public health system in the nation,” Chief Financial Officer Craig Richmond said. “We are very focused on providing a positive patient experience, and early and open communication with our patients about their financial situation is an absolute must.  Through financial education and transparency, we can make a difference in the life of every patient we serve.”

HFMA’s best practices were developed to improve communication between health care professionals and patients at a time when patients are paying a greater proportion of their health care costs out of their own pockets.

The practices were developed by a task force that included representatives from major industry groups, such as the American Hospital Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the National Patient Advocate Foundation. National health care policymakers advising the task force included former Health and Human Services secretaries Mike Leavitt and Donna Shalala, former Senate Leaders Bill Frist and Tom Daschle, and Clinton Administration Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick.

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