Improving the Patient Payment Experience

Donna White

Donna White

By Donna White, Principal Consultant and Owner of Legacy Consulting Services and Legacy Billing Solutions in Montgomery, Alabama.

Securing patient payment has always been a challenge for healthcare providers. However, higher deductible plans with more patient responsibility have made the patient payment experience of the Revenue Cycle a whole new level of challenging.

The key for providers to remember is eligibility. Ensure your staff is trained in two key areas. One, how to obtain accurate eligibility for your specialty. Second, train your staff on financial options available for patients including payment plans. They need to know how to discuss financial matters with patients who may not be aware of their responsibility before the visit.

Depending on your practice, facility, or specialty, having various financial options available can be challenging. Participating with companies like Care Credit can be good for your office, or not as helpful, depending on the volume for your practice. Some hospitals are even teaming up with banks on opening lines of credit for patients.

“One small Southern hospital works with an outside partner to open lines of credit for qualified patients. ‘By having that open line of credit, they had a higher probability of showing up for post-care treatments, like follow-up care and physical therapy,’ the hospital’s director of patient financial navigation said.”

Providers are also relying more on technology to help stay engaged with patients for their financial responsibility. Patient portals, texts and e-mails help keep patients aware of their responsibility, while reducing the time staff needs to follow up on accounts. However, providers need to know their demographic and have multiple options available. If your practice may have patients that are less tech savvy or have access issues, keeping the personal touch to patient payment follow up may be necessary.

The key overall to successful patient payment collections ties back to one thing: education. By ensuring the staff are properly trained and patients are aware of what their responsibility is before treatment, there will be fewer issues collecting balances over time.


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