(CNS): Officials from the Health Services Authority have said that the hospital is getting on top of the delays in invoicing. CEO Lizzette Yearwood said the HSA was addressing past problems, where some invoices did not reach the insurances companies on time and bills were sent to patients years after treatment. Following the recent examination of the authority’s latest published accounts by the Public Accounts Committee and concerns by many CNS readers about how the hospital is billing insurance companies and patients, Yearwood said the system was improving.
“The HSA is aware that in the past there have been system issues that affected when bills were sent to patients and insurance companies, however this has now been addressed, and although there can always be extenuating circumstances, the system is now generating timely bills,” she stated.
But it doesn’t mean that the hospital’s bill collection problems are over. Yearwood told CNS that the hospital cannot send bills to the patients until the insurance providers have responded to the invoices sent to them. She also noted that patients don’t always collect their hospital bills from the post.
“Returned mail continues to be an issue,” she said, adding that the hospital receives a significant volume. “Many times the statements are not getting to the patients or they are not being claimed at the post office.”
The hospital is dealing with a significant debt that is carried over year after year, but the HSA board has now been cleared by the health ministry to begin writing off outstanding bills that will never be recovered from insurer or patient.
While the hospital is now going through the process of finding a professional debt collector to help it recover some of the bad debt, the main aim now is to ensure that the hospital does not creat new bad debt by improving the current system and in some cases, such as the pharmacy, charging patients up-front for the medicine and care they need.