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An Easy Solution To Self-Pay Writeoffs?

An article in a recent issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine told the story of Sharp Healthcare reducing its self-pay writeoffs by $3.4 million through using a website from the Foundation for Health Coverage Education. From the article:
"In 2008 and 2009, Sharp HealthCare saw a $3.4 million drop in self-pay net revenues. The region's increase in unemployment inversely aligned with cash collection, says Gerilynn Sevenikar, vice president of patient financial services for the San Diego-based system.
"In an effort to stop the bleeding, Sevenikar reached out to the Foundation for Health Coverage Education, a San Jose, Calif., nonprofit that helps people nationwide find health insurance. The two organizations began an initial 30-day trial in which all self-pay patients entering four Sharp emergency rooms were given the FHCE eligibility quiz, a tool that asks patients without insurance five questions to help determine their eligibility for public or private health insurance. Once completed, a personalized list of coverage options is produced, many of which allow hospitals to collect retroactively for care provided.
"As of the end of October — 19 months into the program — the results have been impressive: 80.4 percent of patients entering Sharp emergency rooms didn't know they were eligible for private, free or subsidized government insurance coverage. "With virtually no startup costs or required staffing changes, FHCE now hosts a Sharp-specific screening module that electronically interfaces with the hospitals; the results of each quiz are automatically uploaded to Sharp's patient accounting system.
No startup costs or staffing changes?  I was impressed.  

Spend a few moments with the Foundation's website.  Perhaps a useful resource for your Community Health Coaches as they work with uninsured population? Maybe the ED staff and case managers?


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