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March 2012
News For You

Enhancements to Point of Service Collection Policy

Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) believes patients should have access to the information they need to make informed decisions not only about their care, but also about their "out-of-pocket" financial obligations before a test or procedure is performed. That is why NCH is improving its methods to provide clear and timely information to patients about their insurance benefits and financial responsibility. By communicating this information in advance of service, patients will be better able to make informed decisions, thus helping to improve their overall healthcare experience.

Beginning April 2012, NCH Patient Access representatives will use a new cost estimator tool to proactively educate patients about their insurance coverage and out-of-pocket financial responsibility. The representatives also will request payment prior to or at the time service is provided. This process is not entirely new as most patients are already accustomed to paying their co-payments and deductibles at the time of service in physician offices.

NCH's process for communicating with our patient community is as follows:

  • Scheduled Patients: Scheduled patients at NCH locations* will be asked to make their out-of-pocket payment prior to service. The Patient Access representative will make every effort to contact the patient prior to the date of service to communicate insurance coverage, the patient's financial responsibility, and, if applicable, collect any out-of-pocket payments. If the patient is unable to pay over the phone, the patient will be advised to bring cash, check or credit card on the day of service.
  • Unscheduled Patients: Unscheduled patients entering any of the NCH locations* may be asked for an out-of-pocket payment at the time of registration.
Financial Assistance is Available

NCH* offers financial assistance programs to help uninsured or underinsured patients. In addition, extended payment options are available to patients who are unable to make full payment at the time of service.

An NCH financial counselor will work with patients to determine available payment options, including payment plans, government-sponsored programs, financial assistance, charity care and package priced services. Note: Eligibility for government or financial assistance programs requires that patients share certain personal and financial information. Financial Counselors are available at 847.618.4542.

This is an important initiative for NCH. We look for your support of NCH's new payment policy, and we ask you to encourage your patients to work with the Patient Access department to satisfy their out-of-pocket financial responsibility.

For additional information, please contact Betsy Keating, interim director of Access Services, at 847.618.4595.

* Includes the following NCH locations: Northwest Community Hospital main campus, Immediate Care Centers, Imaging Centers, and Outpatient Physical Rehabilitation and Wellness Centers.

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Last Updated 03/15/2012