CEO Messages

Patient Billing Guidelines — Hospitals Encouraged to Sign AHA Pledge

Recently, the American Hospital Association (AHA) asked hospitals and health systems to affirm their commitment to a voluntary set of patient billing guidelines.

The guidelines are designed to bolster hospitals’ promise to help patients pay for hospital care, ensure fair billing and debt collection practices, and assure accountability for implementation of billing policies every step of the way. 

By signing the affirmation, your hospital or health system is pledging to adopt the AHA Patient Billing Guidelines. Specifically, this means that your hospital will:

  • To the best of its ability, assist individuals in accessing available coverage
  • Communicate clearly and directly with patients about their financial obligations and assist those who qualify for financial assistance to obtain it
  • Apply its financial assistance policies consistently and fairly
  • Assure leadership review and accountability for implementation of its billing policies

Your hospital’s CEO or primary contact should have received an email from AHA with a link to affirm support for the billing guidelines. If you did not receive the email or have questions about the pledge, email or call (800) 530-9092.

CHA and Hospital Council are asking for your support and encourage all hospitals to sign the pledge by AHA’s Dec. 31 deadline. In early 2022, AHA plans to publish the names of organizations that have signed the pledge, and it’s critically important that California hospitals — which are already leading the way in protecting patients, regardless of their ability to pay — reinforce this promise. To assist hospitals, CHA has compiled this chart that compares the voluntary guidelines with provisions of both federal and state laws.

 As the conversation about surprise billing and price transparency continues in Washington, DC, this pledge will serve as a good reminder to the public that hospitals remain committed to their patients.

Other Items of Interest

  • It is December and time for some of those “end-of-the-year lists.” Here is one that my kids shared with me so I can understand some of their text messages — the ranking of the most used emojis in 2021! I learn something new every day.
  • As a father of a daughter who is on the autism spectrum and has much anxiety in her life, both my daughter and I enjoyed listening to this podcast on anxiety. A great primer on how to make and break habits when anxiety surfaces in your life. This podcast features neuroscientist Judson Brewer, MD, PhD, and journalist and noted author Charles Duhigg, who candidly discuss making and breaking habits, anxiety, and ADHD.