Due to the difficult economic climate, many patients are having trouble paying for medications and prescriptions. For example, according to a recent study by Consumer Reports, more than one out of every five Americans currently report to having this problem. As a result, many small hospitals, medical facilities and private practices are feeling the strain in their bottom lines.
To make things even more difficult, some health experts are suggesting that these patients negotiate the price of services and medications with their doctors. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that patients should not pay their bills until they can reach a solution with the facility's billing department.
"The last thing most patients want to do is haggle with their doctors, but a little bit of negotiating can go a long way," John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, said in a press release. "It's also important to know that there are tremendous variations in health care costs – knowing this can help a consumer get a hand up and politely insist on the fairest possible price."
While healthcare facilities may not want to openly endorse the strategy, the practice may soon become a part of the way doctors and patients interact. Doctors may want to turn to effective solutions such as medical billing software and EMR software from trusted providers like Medisoft and Lytec to ensure that this information can be collected and dealt with by their administrative staff.
By using the pen-and-paper method, billing disputes could be prolonged even after a final price is agreed on. But, with electronic medical records software from industry leaders like Practice Choice or Allscripts, doctors can take notes on patients talks in real time and even add information about payment arrangements to a patient's file.
While these solutions don't make up for the larger problems that helped created it, these practices could help alleviate the strain doctors are likely to face for the near future.