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Clarifying the Complicated (Matt Troup Feedback)

2 min read

Everyone at Conway Regional Health System was happy to host Mark Friedman recently for an Immersion Day experience, and we appreciate his interest in how we are innovating and leading the charge for community-centered health care in Conway. Taking in six hours of behind-the-scenes exposure in the context of a complex business environment is a challenge to summarize succinctly. Mark did it well. However, there were a few clarifications that needed to be addressed and he was gracious to make those online very quickly

There were two items in the original article I felt needed to be addressed.

The first was a comment that hospitals, in general, and Conway Regional, by inference, charge different amounts for the same service to different patients, depending upon the type of insurance they carry, or their lack of insurance. I can say with certainty that Conway Regional charges the same for all of our services regardless of a patient’s insurance status. I’m relatively certain that most, if not all, hospitals do as well. However, what hospitals receive as payment does vary significantly by insurance coverage. What we charge is consistent, what we are paid varies by the payer. To alter our charges based upon a patient’s ability to pay would be unethical.

The second was a reference to charges being “like Monopoly money.” I realized upon reading this that it sounded flippant. The basic point I was trying to make during our visit is that charges are often only minimally correlated to payment or patient responsibility. Many hospital insurance contracts, including those of government payers, pay on a fixed rate that is predetermined and set regardless of charges. Hospitals are bound by very complicated rules regarding what they can or cannot charge. So while the charge is based upon real costs, what hospitals receive in payment can be pennies on the dollar. I think we would all agree that this is a complex topic that has vexed our industry and patients for decades.

Again, I thank Mark for his willingness to spend time with us and appreciate his professionalism and desire to learn more about Conway Regional and the healthcare industry overall.

Matt Troup, CEO
Conway Regional Health System

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