Imagine you're going to remodel your kitchen, and not just a fresh coat of paint. You're going to do it all - new flooring, cupboards, and appliances. You plan to hire a contractor. Now, imagine starting this project with no idea of how much it will cost, and you will not receive a bill for three to six months following the project's completion.
Most of us would never consider undertaking such a project without knowing the cost. As with any investment or project, we get an estimate so we can financially plan ahead. With this thought in mind, Trinity Regional Medical Center is developing a new process to assist our patients with planning for the expenses of their medical care - so you know before you go.
There are two main reasons for implementing this new service.
The first is to improve patient satisfaction. Most of us do not fully understand our health insurance benefits. We know we have insurance and that we have a deductible. However, how many of us understand the ins and outs of our health plan? Have you ever had a medical procedure and been anxious to know what portion your insurance will cover and what portion will be your responsibility? Beginning sometime this month, if you are scheduled for a procedure you will be given:
An explanation of your health insurance coverage.
A cost estimate for your procedure or test.
An opportunity to meet with a financial advocate.
The option to pay your co-payment or set up a payment plan that works for you and your budget.
Through this process, Trinity will be able to identify patients who may need financial assistance. At that point, patients needing financial assistance will be given the opportunity to work with a financial advocate. The financial advocate will aid them in finding possible sources of assistance.
It is important to note that eventually Emergency Room patients will also have the opportunity to arrange payment options after care is received.
The second reason for the implementation of this new service is to improve Trinity's financial performance. It is no secret that Trinity has been impacted by the current economic situation. Like other companies we find it necessary to adjust the way we do business in order to maintain our financial stability.
According to the Iowa Hospital Association, from January through April hospitals across Iowa experienced an increase of 25 percent in patients that qualify for financial assistance. The implementation of this new service will enable us to be more proactive in identifying patients in need of financial assistance. This in turn will improve Trinity's financial performance and ensures that we can continue to provide quality patient care and state-of-the-art health care technology to the community and region.
The physicians and employees of Trinity Regional Medical Center consider it a privilege to serve Fort Dodge and the surrounding communities. We dedicate ourselves to delivering quality care and services to help you, your family and the community to realize better health and an improved quality of life.
Troy Martens is chief operating officer of Trinity Regional Medical Center.