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New draft best practices for patient financial interactions released by HFMA

The Healthcare Financial Management Association released on Sunday, the opening day of its annual conference, a draft of new best practices for patient financial interactions.

According to the HFMA press release, the new best practices provide guidelines for a variety of circumstances, including emergency and non-emergency care, and “provide guidance for when, how, and by whom communication should take place about patient insurance coverage, financial counseling, patient financial responsibility for service, and any existing balance the patient may have.”

“Patients and their families enter the healthcare system when they are most vulnerable, and then they encounter financial processes that are challenging even to veteran healthcare professionals,” said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, president and CEO of the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF), in a statement. Davenport-Ennis was a member of the group that helped to create the best practices. “The early, clear financial conversations described in these best practices will help give patients peace of mind and help providers receive appropriate payment – both key objectives for the healthcare system to function with fairness and compassion.”

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As noted in the press release, the best practices were created by a steering committee consisting of leaders from HFMA and a number of other organizations, and was overseen by an advisory council, which included former senators Bill Frist and Tom Daschle, Donna Shalala, former secretary of Health and Human Services, Michael Leavitt, former secretary of Health and Human Services and former governor of Utah.

The draft of the new best practices is open for public comment through July 31 and may be found here.