“An entire procedure includes components from multiple departments — room and board, laboratory, other diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, therapies, etc.
The three systems were careful to express cautionary notes that their estimates cannot guarantee the total costs of what their patient may be charged.
“While these estimates cover a range of services and fees, they may not include all costs,” Cone said in its Dec. 31 statement addressing its cost-estimator tool.
“Radiologists, anesthesiologists, pathologists, emergency room physicians and others who are not employed by Cone Health charge ‘professional fees.’ These are charged separately and not included in the Cone Health estimate.”
Mike Simms, Cone’s vice president of revenue cycle, said “self-service estimates are only as accurate as the information the person provides. That information includes not only the operation, procedure or test a person is pricing, but their insurance plan as well.”
The cost-estimator message from Novant’s O’Connell was representative of hospitals’ efforts at embracing the requirement while pointing out caveats.
“We want to insure our patients fully understand every aspect of their care, and that includes cost planning and counseling,” O’Connell said on a Zoom call that Novant set up with media outlets.