It is no secret that healthcare providers are struggling to streamline their cash flow because getting patients to pay in a timely fashion is not always an easy job. Medical debt in the United States has become so commonplace that Forbes reports as many as half of Americans have some kind of medical debt.
Various surveys report that an overwhelming number of patients — about 75 percent of interviewees — are actually willing to uphold their financial responsibility, but do not always know how to do so. The lack of proper information being a primary problem. A survey conducted by TransUnion Healthcare concluded that patients end up looking up the cost of medical procedures online and often delay treatment in an effort to avoid unmanageable expenses.
It is important to emphasize that patients who are aware of their financial responsibility ahead of time are much more likely to pay their medical bills, reducing uncertainty and pressure on healthcare providers. Oftentimes, bills get misplaced, patients forget to make a payment or are not aware that they still owe money to the ASC in the first place. Healthcare providers who are able to explain to patients their financial responsibility will be more attractive to them because patients are trying to avoid hidden unmanageable costs.
So, what can your facility do to make sure that patient payment options on your website will help mitigate patient fears and allow them to seek out care in a timely manner?
Everything comes down to communication — streamlining and personalizing connection with the patient builds trust, helps generate positive experience and reduces the margin of error. Consider sending automated patient financial reminders via text and email, which would give patients a clear view of their obligations and encourage timely payments.
Once a patient is made aware of their obligation, make sure you offer multiple options for them to resolve their outstanding balance. Directing a patient to pay-in-full may be ideal, but if they’re unable or unwilling to make a large one-time payment, you may have led some patients to essentially a “Dead End”. If a patient has taken active steps to pay a bill, make sure they are presented with all of the options available to them. Some will pay-in-full, some may need a payment plan, and still others may choose to use an approved finance option if you utilize such services. The right partner will help support all of your patient payment options.
Our automated payment solution, Payments, can help you do just that. Payments can reduce any confusion patients have regarding their financial responsibility, make payment information clear and straightforward by sending out texts and emails, and help create a healthy communication channel between your facility and your patients regarding the pre-collection process.
Another tip would be to implement patient billing services. From insurance balances to self-pay, our first-party patient billing services are designed to be a true extension of your billing office, providing the highest customer service and improving the patient experience. For instance, through our Payments solution, one surgical facility reduced their debt by $1.1 million and increased patient collections to $1.86 million in just the first year — a 121% increase.
With software that helps patients set up payment plans that allow them to understand their financial obligations, you set yourself up for great patient experiences and streamlined cash flow.
About One Mnet Health
One Mnet Health unites the clinical and financial patient experience. Our solutions help healthcare providers reach their full potential by improving patient engagement and increasing patient payments. We’re not just a partner; we act as an extension of your facility, giving your staff increased efficiency without any headache. For more information, visit onemnethealth.com.