In this occasional series, HRI talks with PwC leaders who are also clinicians. Kathryn Burg Plaza brings extensive clinical patient care experience to the firm. She is a nurse practitioner with clinical and leadership experience at academic medical centers.
With recent actions by CMS to force the industry toward price transparency, how does this issue impact the daily interactions between clinicians and their patients?
The patient satisfaction element is significant. Patients could be dissatisfied about their entire patient encounter because of their bill and go online, talk about it, give bad reviews. This is an era of consumerism that we have not experienced in this industry.
One other big change is that the hospitals have to publish the payer rates for services that they’re providing. That’s always been a mystery. I have this charge, what is this payer covering? All of that detail will have to be published.
We would see that also influencing the patient-payer relationship. They will have a lot more questions about their responsibility and what the payer is covering. I don’t know if that will come back to clinicians or not, but it’s new and may create more questions.
HRI: Our Top health industry issues of 2020 report identifies consumer finance as a patient experience opportunity. How can organizations improve patient experience around billing and payment?
Kathryn Burg Plaza: Health systems are looking at ways to consolidate the patient bills—one bill for the professional and hospital services, not multiple, which has caused patients confusion for decades.
Health systems also are looking to enhance the patient experience by improving digital access, enhancing cost estimates upfront, being able to have consumer-friendly descriptions of services so patients can find what they need online in an easy manner to keep patients within the health system, and give them accessibility to what they need to make a decision.