Paraphrased from my Management Rx blog:

The New York Times reports that the federal government hopes to fix a problem that many citizens complain about: inaccurate health plan directories.  When health plan directories are incorrect, patients can wind up unintentionally receiving services out-of-network, which usually leads to unexpected, significant out-of-pocket costs.

The administration is naturally concerned about the impact of directory errors on patients, but out-of-date directories are a huge problem for medical practices, too.  Out-of-network errors mean the practice probably is paid less, and the patient may blame the practice for not catching the costly mistake.  Patients may share their disappointment with others, via word-of-mouth or even publicly via a review or rating.

And besides out-of-network errors that everyone would like to avoid, practices lose even more when they’re not listed at all by a plan they participate in, or they’re listed with the wrong address, wrong specialty, or wrong status (i.e., accepting new patients or not).  When these errors occur — and they’re common — the directory is turning prospective patients away from your practice.

You can read the rest of my post at the Management Rx site. But the short version is, health plan directories are such an important source of information for prospective patients, medical practices can’t afford to leave their accuracy to the insurers alone, even if the government gets involved.

And on the plus side, health plan directories may be your single best source of new patients, and fixing and enhancing your listings is free!  It’s rare to find a marketing effort that can be so easy, so effective, and free.

My practical, step-by-step ebook on the subject — “The Quick Guide to Online Physician Reputation Management” — will empower you or a staff member to take control of all your online directory listings, and start seeing the benefits of being easier to find online.  It’s just $6.99, but you can download a free sample at Amazon to try before you buy.  (If you don’t have either a Kindle device or the free Kindle reader on another device, you can also purchase a PDF version for the same price from Gumroad.)

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