SMITH CENTER, Kan. – Smith County Memorial Hospital is making changes to its billing process that the administration hopes will bring benefits to patients.
“We’ve been making changes to our patient records system for several years and we’re now at the stage to upgrade the billing system,” Allen Van Driel, CEO, said. “This change will make things easier for staff and patients and we’re looking forward to the benefits.”
The patient accounts software will help staff see charges that occurred in the clinic or the hospital in the same system. It will also mean one bill for patients instead of two.
“This is a huge upgrade for our patients,” said Avery Aiken, SCMH’s CFO. “We get calls all the time about the confusion of two separate bills. It will take some time for our staff and our patients to get used to the new billing process, but ultimately we think this will be an advantage.”
Not only will patients receive only one bill, but a household can receive a single bill.
“We think this could be helpful to families who want to see a total list of charges rather than receiving multiple statements in the mail,” Aiken said. “For example, families that bring multiple children to be seen at the same time would no longer have a bill for each child. They would receive one complete statement.”
Households that would like to receive a single bill for all family members are encouraged to talk to the billing office at either the hospital or clinic to request this service.
“Our registration teams in the clinic and the hospital will be working proactively between now and the switch to the new service to help families update their accounts if they choose,” Aiken said. “Patients are always encouraged to come to us as well.”
The household billing option can be started or ended at a patient’s request.
The movement to the software began four years ago when the clinic and hospital moved to a new medical records system. The system allows staff to input diagnosis, lab work, provider comments and other medical information so that patients’ information can be tracked more clearly. This system has improved medical communication and therefore given patients a more complete record from visit to visit.
The same system can also track billing, insurance payments and patient accounts for the finance office. Staff is currently working to have the new system in place beginning September 1.