I applaud your editorials on the significance of patient-friendly hospital bills (June 26, p. 80; Sept. 18, p. 26). Indeed, hospital billing is more complex than billing for other industries, making it difficult for providers to satisfy patients when explaining their bills.
The reality is that legacy billing systems are designed for the business office first and patients second. Providers leading the charge toward a patient-friendly bill have done so by tapping technology capable of replacing confusing, canned billing systems output with clear and relevant information. These providers generate patient bills that communicate personalized billing and insurance issues while enhancing the organizations' community image.
We hope the Healthcare Financial Management Association/American Hospital Association-sponsored "patient friendly" billing initiative will result in a road map for clearly informing patients and imparting patients' financial responsibility. Several providers have already proven, however, that there are patient bills today worthy of being called patient-friendly without being timid about collecting what's due them.
Principal, HealthCom Partners
Mount Prospect, Ill.