In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller of the perennial 80s favorite Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” And oh, how true those words are, especially these days where today’s big news is tomorrow’s forgotten Instagram post. If you picked up 80s Ferris and dropped him down in 2019, he would be in for a serious culture shock. Pop culture has been changing so quickly, it could make you dizzy. However, some things are slow to change and catch up the expectations of today. One industry that is notoriously change resistant? Healthcare.Read More
Think about all of the industries that require a deposit, payment, or a payment method on file before they will perform a paid service. Anytime you go to a hotel, or have work done to your home, or even order takeout, you either need to provide a payment method or turn over cash upon delivery. Not so with healthcare. Once a patient leaves their provider’s office, there is only a 40% chance that they will pay their bill. In 30% of cases, nothing is ever paid at all. Is that any way to sustain a business?Read More
Ever feel like collecting patient payments is somewhat of a crap shoot? Statistically, it is, especially if you rely on outdated billing and payment methods like sending paper statements and allowing patient A/R to stagnate over 90+ days because you never asked for patient payment assurance. Did you know that 60 percent of all patients never pay their medical bill once they leave the office? Yikes. I don’t like those odds at all!Read More
It's no longer breaking news that medical practices across the country are struggling to keep pace with collecting rising patient payments in the era of high deductible health plans (HDHPs) and rising out-of-pocket expenses. A recent athenahealth network study, for example, found that practices collect about 40 percent of patient balances at the time of service when patients owe less than $35, and just 6 percent of what they're owed when the patient's balance is over $200. Couple that with the fact that 30 percent of patients leave the office without ever paying their bill and 60 percent of all patients never pay their medical bill once they leave the office and it's clear that providers need a new approach to managing the patient revenue cycle.
Patients represent the most difficult demographic to collect from and in an era of rising healthcare consumerism, are much more cognizant of the cost of care and their choices on who should administer that care. Patients are also beginning to expect cost of care estimates both before, at, and after the point of service, and are demanding more convenient ways to pay for the cost of care - all factors that feed into the notion that the psychology of patients is changing and providers would bode well to respond to that change by re-evaluating their existing patient revenue cycle strategy and implementing changes that speak to these behavior shifts.
The simple fact of the matter is collecting money from patients once they leave the office is expensive, especially when a balance may be owed post insurance claim adjudication. That's why so many medical providers are evaluating revenue cycle solutions that can capture a payment-on-file at the point of service to cover these balances thereby lowering accounts receivable (A/R), days in A/R, and the overall cost to collect.
Since dermatology medical providers have one of the highest out-of-pocket cost estimates for patients, the need to modernize the patient revenue cycle through automation, higher levels of price transparency, and the ability to leave payment-on-file is particularly acute. That's why we will be attending the annual Association of Dermatology Administrators and Managers Conference this week in Washington, D.C., speaking with practice leaders and offering live demos of the Health iPASS patient revenue cycle solution to providers committed to making fundamental and sustainable changes to the way they collect patient payments.
Attending the ADAM conference this year? Stop by Booth #28 and see me to talk about strategies that can improve your patient revenue cycle and lower the cost to collect. Won't be able to make the conference? You can always see a demo of the Health iPASS patient revenue cycle solution by clicking "Schedule a Demo" below.
Topics: Revenue Cycle Management, Credit Card on File, Patient Payments, Patient Consumerism, Medical Billing, Dermatology, patient net collection rate, improve patient collections, provider bad debt, optimizing patient payments, patient payment, patient bad debt
Have you ever struggled to understand a difficult concept, but when presented with the right visual, everything clicked into place? Let’s face it, the healthcare patient revenue cycle is pretty darn complicated. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a bird’s-eye view of the challenges faced by medical providers in terms of collecting patient payments, with a focus on an innovative solution that directly addresses those concerns?Read More
If you’ve spent any time on our website or have seen members of our sales team at a conference, you might have heard that our clients are collecting over 97% of residual balances when patients check in with Health iPASS and opt to keep a card-on-file (COF). When compared with the industry average of 12%, that’s kind of a big deal (insert winky face here). The true key to this kind of collection success is collecting payment assurance via establishing a card-on-file COF policy to pay for post-adjudication balances. That sounds great for practice managers, but what about the patients? Here are some of the objections that may arise regarding keeping patient payment information on file, and how to gently overcome them.Read More
Addressing the Problems of Collecting Patient Payments in Healthcare
As we have addressed before, the rise of high deductible health plans (HDHP) have led to a sharp increase in patient payment responsibilities, which in turn has led them to demand more price transparency, a high level of communication on the cost of care via digital channels, and easier and more convenient ways to pay. As a result of the rise of patient as a payer, most medical practices are proactively seeking to implement technology that automates the patient revenue cycle and removes the uncomfortable conversations about collecting outstanding patient payment balances. On the back end, the traditional method of sending paper statements has become incredibly expensive and outdated and is not an effective way to collect patient payments.
Medical providers must recognize that they will see a larger percentage of their future revenue streams come from patient out-of-pocket expenses and adapt their approach, processes, and systems in order to improve patient collections while also creating and maintaining a good relationship with patients.
Below is a brief summary of some of the best practices to improve patient collection while also improving patient satisfaction and retention rates. These practices are expanded upon in the whitepaper.
Practices need to increase awareness and accountability. Being able to recognize what is working and what is not can go a long way towards creating an effective team. It might be beneficial to create a baseline of current revenue cycle metrics and then comparing that baseline with good external benchmarks. Practices should focus on process improvement aimed at boosting patient yield (net patient collections – patent billing & collection expenses over total patient responsibility).
As we discussed earlier, there is an increased demand from patients for price transparency. Now that a high percentage of the healthcare payments are coming from patients themselves, they want clear and concise information on how much they will owe. Surveys have showed that patients prefer having the option to keep a credit card on file to automatically pay residual balances under $200. Technology is at the forefront of the move from healthcare patient revenue cycle status quo and practices should utilize it. Technology can act as a “digital assistant” by taking over many of the back-end revenue cycle tasks.
Now more than ever, it is beneficial for practices to have a good relationship with patients. One way to do this is by providing appointment reminders via preferred digital communication channels. Confirm the date and time of the appointment, include special visit instructions and a Google map/directions of the office location, proactively have forms (e.g. - Consent to Treat, Financial Policy) filled out prior to the visit, and send the information to them via SMS text and/or email. Sending patients appointment info leads to fewer missed appointments, less time filling out forms at the office, and an opportunity to pay down outstanding balances via a patient portal which in turn leads to more effective patient payment collections.
By incorporating some of these practices, providers can optimize patient payments and increase revenue while boosting patient engagement and retention. Utilizing the latest tech-enabled patient RCM management solutions, such as Health iPASS, is the right choice for practices who wish to thrive now and in the face of additional forthcoming patient revenue cycle changes in the healthcare industry.
The updated version of the whitepaper will be available under “White Papers” in the Resources tab. You can download that whitepaper, or any other Health iPASS whitepaper by visiting the whitepaper page or clicking on the link below.
It's no longer a secret that medical practices across the country continue to struggle with collecting patient payments. By now, most of us know that the rise of high deductible health plans (HDHPs) are straining patients' wallets and pushing the need for providers to not only be more transparent about what patients owe up-front and post insurance claim adjudication, but also offer more flexible payment options and the ability to leave a payment-on-file for a specific encounter.
Quickly doing the math would lead one to realize that medical practice specialties providing services that result in high out-of-pocket patient expenses are more at risk from the repercussions of not modernizing their patient revenue cycle with technology that automates, increases price transparency into the cost of care, and presents more payment options including the ability to leave a payment-on-file and pro-actively set up payment plans for large balances.
Earlier in the month of December, Rajesh moderated our most recent Health iPASS webinar, a panel discussion centered on strategies to help medical providers collecct more patient payments in 2019. Rajesh presided over an impressive panel of healthcare experts that included John Hornberger, CEO of Orthopedic Center of Palm Beach County, Eric Brodsky, Principal at Epoxy and Executive Director of Illinois MGMA, and Joe Clark, CEO of Sierra Pacific Orthopedics. Rajesh moderated the discussion on the future of healthcare and how the “status quo” of paper statements and lack of technology use is a thing of the past. If you missed that webinar, a recording of it is available here.
This week is yet another opportunity to hear Rajesh and learn from his great insights on the future of the patient revenue cycle in healthcare. Tomorrow, January 22nd from 12-1 pm central time, Rajesh will be participating in the Association of Dermatology Administrators and Managers (ADAM) webinar entitled “ Preparing for 2019 and Beyond: Revenue Cycle Regulatory Legislation on the Horizon” will outline and discuss pending legislative framework changes on the horizon that could negatively affect revenue cycles and how providers can manage these changes and abandon the status quo.
With the rise of high deductible health plans (HDHPs), patient as a payer is becoming the new norm. Patients are demanding price transparency so they can clearly understand both before and at the point-of-service how much money they owe after a doctor’s visit. Over the last few years, there have been moves both at the state and federal levels towards establishing greater healthcare price transparency and reducing/eliminating surprise medical bills. In fact, as of June of 2018, 28 states now require hospitals, physicians, and/or healthcare plans to publish per-procedure costs.
With a significant push towards greater price transparency, data-driven healthcare pricing reform and transparency will only accelerate. While this is not a new initiative, the Colorado Transparency in Health Care Prices Act, which went into effect January 1st of 2018, is breaking new ground and may well serve as a model for ongoing efforts to increase healthcare price transparency for patients. As the healthcare industry is confronted with new cost transparency legislation, providers need to adapt.
You can register for the upcoming ADAM webinar by following this link. You may also download all our Health iPASS webinars by visiting the “webinar” page located under the Resources tab on our main site. We look forward to hearing more of Raj’s insights and we hope you are too. Read More
Back on December 31st, Rajesh was a guest on the eHealth radio podcast, " Tackling the New Dynamics of Patient Revenue Cycle Management in the Era of Healthcare Consumerism with Eric Michaels. On the podcast, Rajesh touched on several topics related to the reality and after effects of patients now being the primary payer in revenue cycle management.
Rajesh started the interview by discussing the fast rise of patient as the primary payer of healthcare expenses due to the sharp increase in high deductible health plans (HDHPs), and the fact that practices need to find a way to adjust accordingly. There are several different payment methods to ensure that practices are optimizing patient payments. One that Rajesh mentioned, and Health iPASS uses, is allowing patients to keep a credit card on file (CCOF) to pay for any residual balances that may be owed post insurance claim adjudication. Not only does the CCOF help patients manage healthcare expenses, it can also significantly improve medical practice cash flow by quickly reducing days in accounts receivable (A/R).
With the rise of HDHPs, patients are responsible for more of their medical bill. As a result, price transparency is becoming increasingly important in the revenue cycle. Rajesh also discussed how as a result of higher out-of-pocket (OOP) costs, trust between provider and patient is more important now than ever.
“Every patient that walks into their [doctor’s office] wonders how it will impact what comes out of their pocket,” said Voddiraju, “Trust has been sorely missing in healthcare. We need to be getting more patients to believe in the billing process.”
Patients are also looking for greater price transparency and a breakdown of what they may owe for specific procedures once their insurance process the claim. That's why offering cost estimates pre-arrival, at point-of-service, at claim submission, and pre-surgery is critical to establish price transparency that builds patient trust and patient retention.
“Consumers are beginning to demand [price transparency]. There needs to be a very consumer-friendly way to making the technology.” Rajesh mentioned, “Both consumer and state/federal regulatory demands are requiring practices to rethink their revenue cycle from the time of scheduling all the way through providing and promoting price transparency.”
Additionally, Rajesh also talked about about the Health iPASS patient revenue cycle solution. Practices using the Health iPASS revenue cycle solution are recognizing 97% collection of residual balances when patients check in using the Health iPASS kiosk and place a CCOF. He mentioned how Health iPASS is taking advantage of the new technology to improve the revenue cycle for medical practices.
“Health iPASS has been able to leverage technologies such as machine learning to study information available in medical billing systems and present this in real-time at the point of service through a user-friendly, easy-to-understand patient revenue cycle solution that brings a level of price transparency to the consumer on the front end.”
Lastly, Rajesh discussed the future of healthcare. He has mentioned many times that automation and technology are at the forefront of the future for the patient revenue cycle in healthcare. In one of our recent blog posts, he reiterated that the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) to streamline back-end practice tasks such as insurance eligibility and patient demographic checks, patient payment posting, and appointment reminders, will become increasingly common.
Health iPASS would like to thank Eric Michaels and the eHealth Radio Netwoek for having Raj on their program and allowing him to share the benefits of the Health iPASS revenue cycle solution. You can listen to the podcast by following this link. Read More