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Scotland County Hospital Offers Deeper Discounts

5/22/2015

Scotland County Hospital (SCH) & Clinics recently rolled out policies to offer deeper discounts for patients that meet the hospital's new qualifying guidelines.  Just as the hospital's patient care professionals strive to improve people's physical well-being, Scotland County Hospital & Clinics officials have put in place new discount, billing and collection policies to keep their patient's financial health on track.  These new policies were approved by the Board of Directors at the April meeting.  These revised discount policies are part of Scotland County Hospital and Clinics' way to help their patients, that qualify, pay for their rising out-of-pocket costs for healthcare.   The Board and Administration have developed this approach to respect the financial welfare of its clients, while preserving the hospital's long term sustainability as a major contributor to the area's health and economy.  

Patients come to healthcare providers to get well, not to accrue debt, and hospitals must remain sustainable to keep up  with advances in medicine and continue to provide quality care close to home.  So SCH is introducing a new 'Covenant  with the Community'.  As more Americans move into health insurance plans that require them to foot a larger portion of the bill for their care or are uninsured due to the high cost of premiums, the hospital is offering even deeper discounts  than their previous discount policies, training financial navigators, and offering account service reps to answer billing questions and  convenient over the phone and on-line bill payment.  "It's our value proposition to the community we  serve-Access, Affordability, and Accountability.  We are committed to letting folks know, upfront, approximately what  their tests and procedures will cost out of pocket, then proactively explaining how they can maximize our new, more generous discounts and financial assistance options.  In addition, our new account management service is designed to de-mystify the process and improve the entire patient experience.  In turn, we hope the patient will feel accountable & empowered to pay their bill with this new system in place," said Dr. Randy Tobler, CEO.

 With the roll out of the deeper discounts at Scotland County Hospital and Clinics, and a number of new steps to ensure financial accountability on both the part of the hospital and the patient are being put into place, financial counseling, which has always been offered to patients that request it, will be offered to every patient.  Furthermore, within 1-2 weeks of receiving a bill, patients will receive a phone call from our account service representative to go over the bill and answer any questions, explain and offer discounts, make the appropriate adjustments to the bill, set up a payment plan if appropriate, and take payment over the phone.  Additionally, if patients have no questions about their bills, on-line bill pay will be available via the hospital's website, this summer, at www.scotlandcountyhospital.com.  Patients are always encouraged to call the account service number, to get clarification of their bills or to pay their bill over the phone.  That number is 660-465-7086.

 Research shows that the number one reason patients may not promptly pay their medical bills is because the bill is so confusing.  Many patients do not understand that their insurance company’s reimbursement does not cover the full cost of care.  High-deductible insurance plans requiring consumers to pay more out-of-pocket costs are a challenge for many households.  And for some uninsured households, the price of basic healthcare may be more than they are willing to pay and these households simply go without or find it nearly impossible to pay their healthcare bills without some form of assistance, either from the hospital or government programs such as Medicaid or MO HealthNet for Kids.

 "The fact is, patients are taking on a greater burden for their out-of-pocket costs," said Curtis Ebeling, Chairman of the Board.  "Hospitals now have a much greater burden to make sure they're having a transparent conversation with their patients about costs of tests and procedures, so that when that bill arrives, 30 or 60 days down the road after service, the patient understands their remaining responsibility and is prepared to make payment in a timely manner."

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