Health Affairs: Gaining Family Input At A Children's Medical Center
By David Tuller
In 2007 Sheryl Chadwick, a volunteer member of the Family Advisory Board at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, attended a meeting called to discuss the medical center’s financial processes. When the conversation turned to the billing system, her personal experience brought a granular level of detail to the discussion.
Chadwick, whose son began treatment at Children’s Mercy in 2000 for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a bone marrow cancer, suddenly realized during the meeting that the administrators and others present might not have all the information necessary for optimal decision making about hospital bills.
“I said, ‘Wait a minute, have you ever seen a bill that I actually receive?’ And they’re like, ‘No,’” Chadwick said. So she pulled a recent Children’s Mercy bill out of her notebook and showed them the multiple charges for “physician consultation” with no indication of who each clinician was.
“I said, ‘I know which ten specialists my son saw, but I can’t tell based on this bill,’” she explained. “In order for me to pay this bill and say it’s correct, you need to give me more information.”
Not long after that discussion, Children’s Mercy began disclosing more information on its bills, Chadwick said. In her view, the medical center’s willingness to listen and respond indicated the seriousness of its efforts to seek input from a set of stakeholders whose opinions were not solicited or heard often enough: specifically, patients and their families.
Read the full article via Health Affairs
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