April 2, 2013
Fort HealthCare will join hospitals across the country in observing National Healthcare Access Personnel Week, April 1 – 7, 2013. The annual celebration is sponsored by the National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM) and recognizes those who serve in hospitals, especially in the area of admissions and have a major responsibility for guaranteeing that all individuals, regardless of insurance coverage and ability to pay for healthcare services, are treated effectively and without discrimination.
Clover Cantu, patient access manager, notes that National Healthcare Access Personnel Week is a celebration of the people in the patient access profession. “We provide quality care in the patient registration process for all patients, providers and payors throughout the patient’s healthcare experience. Not only are we responsible for a patient’s first impression, becoming the face for the entire facility, we also serve as the key component in putting every healthcare visit in motion.”
Assuring everyone receives the care they need is essential to the Fort HealthCare Mission to improve the health and well-being of our community and is a key component of the work performed by the patient access staff. No one is turned away due to financial hardship. In fiscal year 2011-12, Fort HealthCare provided more than $2.15 million in uncompensated charity care to area residents.
Fort HealthCare offers two financial aid options to patients who meet income, asset and need criteria. These are the Self-Pay Discount and the Community Care Program. The Self-Pay Discount is a discount of up to 25 percent on healthcare charges and applies to Fort Memorial Hospital’s inpatient and outpatient services, including Fort Medical Group physician clinics. Potential Self Pay candidates are defined as patients who have no health insurance and patients receiving services that are not covered by health insurance, or another state, government, liability or workers compensation program.
Community Care is a partial or complete write-off of all outstanding charges. Potential Community Care candidates are those patients requiring medically necessary treatment with no or limited ability to pay and whose income does not exceed current federal poverty guidelines; patients whose income exceeds current federal poverty guidelines, but whose expenses also exceed income; and patients whose accounts do not indicate any additional third-party reimbursement. More information on the Self-Pay program and the Community Care program can be found at www.FortHealthCare.com/financialaid.
The Fort HealthCare Patient Financial Advocate provides information on local, state and federal programs to assist patients with their financial situations. Located in the hospital next to the hospital gift shop, the advocate will meet with patients and/or family members about programs which could assist in payment of their healthcare needs, including self-pay and the Community Care program application. The financial advocate can be reached at (920) 563-4443 Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Appointments may be arranged as needed during other hours.
Fort HealthCare works tirelessly to build sustainable strategies that address healthcare access for all area residents. In early 2012, Fort HealthCare partnered with the Rock River Free Clinic Board of Directors to assist with expanding the service hours of the clinic located in Jefferson. The mission of the clinic is to provide access to free health services through health professionals dedicated to caring for low-income and uninsured individuals. This partnership between Fort HealthCare, the Jefferson County Health Department and the Free Clinic Board allows the clinic to be open five days each week. Operating like a typical medical clinic, the consistent presence of physician and nursing support throughout the week enhances continuity of patient care. Fort HealthCare now sponsors full-time physician services at the Rock River Free Clinic and in 2012, provided free laboratory and radiology services to patients valued at $442,000.
Cantu summarizes the important role the patient access staff has in ensuring that every patient is treated with respect, regardless of financial status. “It all starts and ends with patient access management and we truly do pave the road to success for our patients and our facilities.”