Hospital billing scrutiny increases need for medical financial efficiency

Hospital billing has been put under a microscope.

With so much attention on health care insurance, hospital billing procedures and overall financial operations in the medical industry, it's important for billing and accounts receivable departments to ensure they are operating efficiently without making any mistakes that could impact the integrity of their department. 

One of the biggest grievances people and the media have over the health care industry is over-billing, an issue profiled recently by the Huffington Post. David Belk, the article's author, detailed a number of stories involving both insured and uninsured patients who endure massive bills following what they describe as simple treatments. 

For example, a one-hour emergency room visit in 2012 that resulted in five stitches cost Jeff Kortan, who doesn't have insurance, $18,000, and that was after a year of arguing over a $31,613 initial bill. The Post also referenced an ABC News piece regarding a $60,000 bill given to a patient who had insurance, simply because he went to the wrong hospital to treat his acute appendicitis. 

"Hospitals over-bill," Belk wrote. "And because hospitals routinely over-bill people's worlds can be upended over the 'cost' of treating a simple cut. An insurance company would almost never be held to such an outrageous charge. In fact, much of what health insurance companies offer now isn't payment for services, but rather 'protection' from over-billing."

It is stories like the ones detailed in this article that have helped spur health care reform, even if a final product is still years away. And regardless of your views on the current system or the measures that have been put in place to change it, one thing is clear: hospitals will have to maintain an organized and efficient accounting office at all times. Working with a health care financial services provider will assist with this effort.