During May 2016’s MGMA Health System Summit, revenue cycle leaders discussed their greatest healthcare revenue cycle management (RCM) obstacles. At the top of the list? Those three dreaded words: “balance after insurance”, which participants described as “a serious problem” and “our biggest challenge.”
Now, at the beginning of the year, this challenge is even greater—and the problem is potentially more serious. High-deductible plans have reset and many patients will be surprised or concerned—or both—about the amount they owe. So how can you ensure they:
a) Understand what they owe
b) Are engaged and committed to pay
c) Have a plan in place to pay balances in full?
The answer: By identifying these patients who will owe out-of-pocket and creating proactive processes that educate and engage. Best practice processes for patient payments have several common denominators:
1) Pre-service and/or time-of-service engagement—with an estimate showing patient payment responsibility
2) Automation to remove manual tasks from busy staff and ensure patients continue making payments
3) Consumer-friendly patient payment solutions that patients have come to expect—for instance, electronic patient statements, scheduled payment plans and online bill pay
When discussing the rise in patient responsibility, one MGMA participant used the term “game changer.” As our industry undergoes radical changes, it’s time to change the game regarding patient collections! For tips on a game-changing patient payment strategy, download Navicure’s e-book Patient Collections: 12 Strategies for Success by Elizabeth Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC.
About the author: Jeff Wood is vice president of product management at Navicure, a provider of cloud-based healthcare claims management and patient payment solutions. Follow Jeff Wood on Twitter @Jeff_J_Wood.