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PDH to roll out new statement in February

Mona Hill
Staff Writer

Last November, following a special audit of Plumas District Hospital’s patient financial systems, Chief Executive Officer Doug Lafferty essentially promised a new billing format by Feb. 1, 2012.

At the district’s Jan. 5 board meeting, he and Finance Director Cindy Crosslin rolled out a sample of their delivery on that promise.

Although additional changes are likely once PDH completes the financial records conversion, the new format provides significantly more information than previous billing statements.

In November, Lafferty acknowledged that billing issues were the single largest problem for the hospital, with complaints arriving on a daily basis.

By then PDH had contracted Fred Binczewski of Jacobus Consulting to address issues his firm identified during the audit.

In a telephone conversation Jan. 6, Lafferty and Crosslin said that after discussion with Binczewski and finance department staff, it was a simple matter to create a new statement.

Lafferty said, “We heard them,” referring to the steady stream of billing complaints, “and we did something about it.”

Previously, patients received a statement for each visit with nothing to indicate whether the hospital had billed a patient’s insurance or if the insurance had paid any portion of the balance indicated.

Each visit had its own account number and patients could receive multiple statements, often resulting in the impression of duplicate billing for the same visit.

The new statement provides a unique medical record number, which identifies the patient and will remain constant. Now, when contacting the business office, patient and billing staff have access to exactly the same information.

The new, consolidated statement (see accompanying graphic) identifies the specifics of each visit to the hospital or a physician, indicating charges for each facility or doctor.

It also indicates insurance, Medicare or MediCal billing; identifies payments and account adjustments; and clearly indicates the amount owed as a patient balance.

In addition, the statement directs patients to the reverse side of the statement, which provides information about payment plans and methods, including automated payments and interest-free, short-term payment plans and the hospital’s charity care program.

There is also information about the electronic billing and online payments available to patients at Simply click on the “Pay My Bill” button to be redirected to the payment page at Once there follow log-in or registration instructions.

Patients can also use the back of the statement to provide insurance information.

Lafferty said the new statement begins with the February billing cycle.

For more information or help with billing, call the PDH Business Office at 283-7400.

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