Monthly Archives

October 2016

President’s Message

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Dear HFMA South Texas Colleagues, Fall is here and that should mean leaves changing and cooler weather but that is not the case in South Texas. What it does mean is football, so whether you follow high school, college or professional football I hope your team is having a successful season. This fall a much more vicious sport is taking place, the presidential campaigns. I for one am glad it is nearly over. Remember Nov. 8 is Election Day, please get out and vote. As we look back on the last three months, the South Texas Chapter continues to THRIVE! We are coming off of two very successful joint meetings; the HFMA/ACHE Summer Institute held Aug. 25 at the Seton Administration Offices in Austin and the HFMA/TAHFA Fall Symposium held Sept. 12-13 at the Embassy Suites Riverwalk in San Antonio. Both meetings were filled with education around trending healthcare topics as well as plenty of networking opportunities. I want to thank Chairman John Knighten and the program committee for all their hard work. I also want to thank Lisa Keffer and Robbie Connell for an outstanding networking event held Sept. 10 at Top Golf in San Antonio. If you missed it, you missed a great time. If you have not renewed your membership, please take a moment to do so. You can renew online at www.hfma.org/membership. Being a member has advantages including free national and regional webinars, great educational sessions, fun networking opportunities and a variety of other valuable resources. Please…

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The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and Calling Cell Phones

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By: Med A/Rx Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), calling cell phone numbers using an “automatic telephone dialing system” can cause legal problems for providers and revenue cycle companies trying to contact patients to pay their outstanding account balance. The TCPA (47 U.S.C. 227, 47 CFR 64.1200) prohibits the use of an “automatic telephone dialing system” to contact “any telephone number assigned to a …cellular telephone service” without “express prior consent” from the party being called. More than two-fifths of American homes (45.4%) had cell phones and no landline phones in the 2nd half of 2014 – a 4.4% increase from a year prior, and double since 2008. About 44.1% of all adults (106 million) lived in wireless only homes — and the same for 54.1% of all children (40 million children). In addition, a sixth of American homes (14.9%) still had a landline, but received all or almost all calls on their cell phones.1 To reduce the risk of legal fees associated with calling cell phones, we suggest adding the following language to your current MEDICAL TREATMENT AUTHORIZATION AND CONSENT FORM: You agree, in order for us to collect any amounts you may owe, we or an associated third party may contact you by telephone at any telephone number associated with your account, including wireless telephone numbers, which could result in charges to you. We may also contact you by sending text messages or e-mails, using any e-mail address you provide to us. Methods of contact may include…

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Presidential Positions: Where the Candidates Stand on Health Care, Housing

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In seemingly every presidential election, we are told by pundits and politicos that this particular contest represents the starkest choice between two vastly opposed ideologies that we’ve seen in decades. The future, your kid’s future and your grandchildren’s future, depends on its outcome. Some may argue that such hyperbole is an understatement this year, and, whether that’s true or not, one thing is clear—this election gives voters the choice between the known and the unknown. If Secretary Hillary Clinton wins, the nation will likely stay on its current path—a pursuit of incremental change shaded by Democratic ideologies. If Donald Trump wins, no one is quite sure what will happen, although a look at his proposals and the GOP’s 2016 platform provides some insight. Health Care Clinton has made it clear she believes in upholding and improving the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Her website lists several other health care policies including: • Expanding Medicare by lowering eligibility age from 65 to 55 • Lower prescription drug costs by requiring drug companies to invest in research and development in order to receive taxpayer support • Incentivize states to expand Medicaid (no specifics given) • Allow families to buy insurance on the health exchanges regardless of immigration status • Identify ways to make providers eligible for telehealth reimbursement under Medicare • Expand federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics • Double funding for primary-care community health centers All this amounts to what would be a hefty expansion of the ACA and would…

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Healthcare Consumerism Study Shows Patients Need Financing Options

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Where patient satisfaction was once solely measured from a clinical standpoint, patients are increasingly judging and rating their satisfaction with healthcare organizations by the amount of repeat business and referrals they bring. Since 1992, ClearBalance has partnered with health systems to provide consumer-centric affordable care while improving net recovery of patient pay and overall financial performance. We recently conducted a study to measure awareness, loyalty and satisfaction with that program. The second annual Healthcare Consumerism Study was sent out in August, completed by nearly 2,700 patients. Of those survey respondents, healthcare cost was undeniably a concern: 79 percent stated that it was a factor when selecting a physician, and 81 percent stated the same when choosing a healthcare provider. Relative to their cost concerns, one out of every three consumers stated they would delay care if a loan program wasn’t made available to them. So, while cost is a factor for patients when selecting a specific physician or healthcare provider, the availability of a loan program is still critical in the decision-making process. One survey respondent said, “It’s helpful not to have to pay a large, unexpected medical bill all at once.” This seemed to be a common opinion amongst respondents, as an overwhelming 91 percent stated that healthcare was an expense that required financing of more than 12 months. Of those who use the ClearBalance program, more than half reported their annual insurance deductible to be $3,000 or less. Seventy-two percent of respondents depended on their employer-provided insurance to…

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