The Healthcare Financial Management Association called for hospital financial leaders to step up to the plate and lead an overhaul of the irrational hospital pricing system that is plaguing all stakeholders. The latest report from the Patient Friendly Billing Project was released at the HFMAs Annual National Institute conference in San Diego. It provides an overview of the current pricing system and includes results from an HFMA survey of hospital and health system financial leaders to help quantify the predominant methods of pricing and cost accounting.
According to the report, payment for healthcare services has evolved into a bewildering array of cross-subsidies, hidden taxes and conflicting incentives. The system is complex and costly to administer and the resulting pricing is almost impossible for the general public to understand, inhibiting transparency, price comparisons, and trust in healthcare institutions.
A rational pricing system should be simple and empower consumers to make price comparisons, the report states. Reformed pricing will improve patients experience as they take more responsibility for their healthcare purchasing decisions and will also contribute comparable, meaningful cost and price information to the broader national payment and financing debate, according to the report. -- by Cinda Becker