Strategies for Managing the Bottom Line
With 83 rural hospitals closed since 2010 and over 650 vulnerable to closure in 2018 here are a ten strategies to help successfully manage patient collection challenges in the revenue cycle:
Helpful Tips & Tactics
Here are some constructive strategies to help protect and improve your revenue cycle numbers.
1. Supervise Your Collections
Be aware of patient collections. Daily reporting will help measure collection efforts. If it can be measured, it can be managed.
2. Verify Patient Eligibility
Prior to a patient's arrival for their first visit, registration staff members need to closely examine the patient’s Insurance ID card to determine:
Patient insurance benefits and coverage
Patient financial liability (if any)
Use Check-in Kiosks to allow your patients to view and verify their personal information at the click of a button.
3. Patient Liability Estimation using Estimation Software
Using the patient’s insurance information and patient estimation software, you can quickly and accurately:
Calculate charges for medical procedures
Apply contract pricing
Apply the patient’s insurance benefit information
Determine the patient’s financial liability
This will ascertain a patient’s estimated financial obligation at the earliest point of contact, which will improve upfront collection, enhance patient satisfaction and help minimize days in A/R.
4. Point Of Service (POS) Collections
Set the patient’s financial expectation on the first visit to increase the likelihood of being prepared in the future. The first time a patient is scheduled, educate them on their responsibility now and what, if any, other financial responsibilities may be due.
5. Offer Payment Options to Patients
Most patients want to pay their bills and settle their balances and they should be given the opportunity to do so. A 2009 McKinsey survey found the number-one reason given by patients for nonpayment was the lack of financing options. So, payment should be made as convenient as possible. These plans should be made available, when appropriate, in order to help keep A/R under control.
Accept credit cards/card-on-file programs
Payment plans can be excellent tools; patients who are offered financial incentives resolve balances faster.
6. Clear Communication is Vital
Make your patient payment expectations clear
Notify the community of changes to your payment policies.
Don’t just provide printed financial responsibility statement to patients. Thoroughly explain your policy especially for patients with high deductible plans who may not completely understand coverages or responsibilities.
7. Collections - Staff Training
Every staff member involved in the revenue cycle process should know your payment policy and be able to clearly communicate it to patients.
Staff should be instructed in how to speak with patients in relation to payment, encouraging attempts to collect at the time of service.
Always ask patients for co-payments at the time of service. If the patient cannot pay at that time, offer payment options such as “Card-on File” programs, credit cards and other credit options or refer them to your financial counselor for a payment plan supported by your internal policies.
Role-playing can be an effective training tool, starting with simple cases and moving into more challenging situations where staff members have to think on their feet and respond quickly.
8. Ask for Outstanding Balances when Scheduling Follow-up Appointments
When a patient with an outstanding balance calls to schedule subsequent appointments, take the opportunity to tactfully attempt to collect all, or at least a portion, of the outstanding balance.
For more information, contact Medical Recovery Services
Medical Recovery Services is a full-service revenue cycle company assisting
hospitals and surgical centers in achieving their full earning potential since 2004.