Improve Patient Collections with Transparency, Simplicity & Efficiency16 Jan 2017, Posted by Billing, Revenue Management in
The structures that govern healthcare reimbursements to providers have shifted drastically in the last few years, with the result being that patients are carrying increased financial responsibility for their care. Patients are not only making an increased number of healthcare payments, with one source stating that the number of patient payments has increased almost 200%1, their individual bills are higher, too.
For ambulatory surgery centers, smaller hospitals and private practices, this reality poses two challenges. First, because more payments are being received from patients, providers have to bill and collect from more individual sources. Second, it’s incredibly difficult to collect from individual patients once they’ve left a facility after treatment.
So how does your facility meet and overcome these challenges while providing ongoing quality service to patients?
It’s proven that when facilities communicate upfront about treatment costs, patients are more likely to meet their financial obligation. Every facility should have a clear and concise policy regarding pricing and upfront collections, and this should be communicated to patients from the first moments of interaction and throughout the process of consultation and treatment.
When patient payments are collected upfront, particularly before treatment is rendered, the process remains simple. There is no billing, no mailed payments, no time delays. However, even when the full balance cannot be collected upfront, it is important to review billing procedures with the patient and keep the actual billing process as simple as possible.
Price quotes and timely billing are the most accessible means of improving efficiency. With price quoting tools, such as that offered by in2itive Business Solutions, patients know the total costs of their procedure, what their insurance (if applicable) will pay, and what the balance of their obligation will be. Offering real-time price quotes also provides an opportunity to discuss payment collection in person. For accounts with a remaining balance, submitting timely and accurate billing keeps the payment top of mind and improves the likelihood of collection.
While the shifts in healthcare have been a challenge for providers, they have been equally tumultuous for patients, who remain the number one customer of our industry. Make sure your facility is taking advantage of every opportunity to deliver transparent service and quality care, both of which will result in patient satisfaction and positive outcomes.
- Source: InstaMed “Trends in Healthcare Payments Fifth Annual Report: 2014”. ↩