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Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills
Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills

Tips & Tricks: Recovering unpaid bills

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Every hospital takes action to increase hospital’s revenue and rein in costs. Unpaid bills and dues from patients constitute major part of potential bad debts and accounts receivable. Timely recovery of these bills and management of debts is important for the fi nancial health of all hospitals.

U npaid hospital bills increases the woes of the hospitals along with patients. There are certain
U npaid hospital bills increases
the woes of the hospitals
along with patients. There
are certain categories of
Further, the CE Act 2010 mandates that
all emergency cases have to be rendered
first aid treatment, irrespective of the
patient’s paying capacity.
and avoids unnecessary litigation but also
ensures healthy patients and bottom line
for the hospital. Here are some tips to
ensure the same.
patients who may be admitted as an
emergency or have been discharged
or abandoned in terminal stages or
have expired or who, after incurring
a hefty bill, have developed dishonest
intentions. Such category constitutes
up to 10 per cent of hospital clientele.
In view of the above problem faced in
realisation of unpaid bills, each hospital
must develop a well-defi ned policy and
a step wise ethical approach based on
sound strategy to address this issue. A
properly implemented policy and sound
strategy not only minimises bad debts
(doc_ssood@yahoo.com)
Gp Capt (Dr) Sanjeev Sood
Hospital and Health
Systems Administrator,
Air Force Hospital,
Chandigarh
11 Prior to admission: Tips & Tricks Hospitals should provide complete information to patients regarding the
11
Prior to admission:
Tips &
Tricks
Hospitals should provide
complete information to
patients regarding the fees
and prominently display the schedule
of charges. Even otherwise, this is
a requirement in terms of Indian
Medical Council Regulations, 2002.
22 Tips & Tricks On admission: On admission assess patient’s paying capacity and verify insurance coverage,
22
Tips &
Tricks
On admission: On
admission assess patient’s
paying capacity and verify
insurance coverage, if
any. Collect certain sum as advance
payment from the patient and
replenish it periodically. It is best
to obtain undertaking from the
patient/attendants to the eff ect that
they would clear all bills. NABH
standards also state that ‘the patients
are explained about the expected costs
on admission. In case of packages it
should clearly state the terms and
conditions and also the exceptions
if any.’ From the legal perspective,
do not refuse emergency treatment to
any patient.
74
I February 2012
33 During hospitalisation: Tips & Tricks Develop a mechanism whereby the patient is daily updated about
33
During hospitalisation:
Tips &
Tricks
Develop a mechanism
whereby the patient is
daily updated about his
condition, expected duration of stay
and interim bill position accurately and
promptly. Ensure that patient pays
separate bill at each costing unit of
hospital like pharmacy, diagnostic tests;
prior to receiving drugs or disposables
or undergoing lab tests. However,
when it appears that the payment may
not be forthcoming, discretion may
be exercised to minimise expenses
that may be avoidable, without clearly
endangering life.
44 Tips & Tricks When patient or attendants are genuinely unable to pay: Refer such patients
44
Tips &
Tricks
When patient or
attendants are genuinely
unable to pay: Refer
such patients to charity
or NGOs. Finally, hospitals should
be prepared to write off up to 10 per
cent of bills as bad debt and serve
humanity. Hospitals could assign a
percentage of budgets as carrying
and delinquency cost as a necessary
evil based on experience, locality and
major patient profi le.
55 Tips & When patient or attendants refuse to pay: Tricks Give some time limit and
55
Tips &
When patient or
attendants refuse to pay:
Tricks
Give some time limit and
fl exible options to patient
to pay through installments, credit
card or post-dated cheques as an
exception. It is better to have accounts
receivable than bad debt in hospital
books. If they still fail, issue a legal
notice demanding payment of bill
irrespective of the fact that the patient
has fi led a complaint in the consumer
court alleging defi ciency in services.
66 Tips & Tricks On discharge: Ensure that the fi nal bill handed over to the
66
Tips &
Tricks
On discharge: Ensure
that the fi nal bill handed
over to the patient is easy,
simple, fl awless, itemised
and transparent.
77 Tips & Tricks It is a diff erent matter that the hospital may not always
77
Tips &
Tricks
It is a diff erent matter
that the hospital may not
always choose to take the
legal approach for reasons
of practicality. From a
practical point of view, the billing
process should be made simple and
above measures shall minimise bad
debts. Eventually, patience, ethics and
negotiationskills pay.

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