Healthcare facilities spent several decades accepting just cash and checks. Next came debit and credits cards where it was a big change, but so popular it became a standard. Now, the market for healthcare payments is far different than it was in the past.
Facilities can no longer accept only a couple forms of payment and expect to collect most or all of their revenue. Patient expectations have changed over time, and many want to see the same payment options made available to them regardless of industry. How can providers work with the evolution in the payments world and continue to successfully manage their revenue cycle? One key element is flexibility.
Flexibility and an Open Approach
A cornerstone of flexibility is having the technical resources available to accept payments through a variety of methods and formats. Patient payments won't all come by credit or debit cards, despite their popularity, nor will they all arrive at the point-of-service when care is provided. Your facility has to move toward an advanced payment solution that accommodates a variety of patient preferences and needs while continuing to securely capture revenue. There are plenty of options available for providers that want to create a better payment relationship with patients and make it easy for them to settle their medical bills. Consider these options:
Pre-authorization and Scheduling Patient Payment Plans
"Put these powerful options in play for a robust and successful strategy."
Healthcare revenue cycle management generally becomes more difficult as the percentage of patients who don't pay at the time of service increases. Capturing revenue after the fact is simply more difficult. Patients encounter other financial obligations and may prioritize their payments differently.
Providers can combat this trend by making a compromise and using pre-authorized credit cards, debit cards and bank accounts to capture revenue through a formal payment plan. By itself, pre-authorization allows facilities to capture a significant portion of what's owed before the patient even steps foot into the facility. When it's combined with a patient payment plan, it adds another flexible option to the mix.
It's important to remember your main priority is to capture 100 percent of patient pay revenue at the time of service. This is one of many instances where the advice provided by NTC Healthcare, to put policies in writing and regularly inform patients of their financial responsibilities, is worth reviewing. Patient education is a critical factor in capturing revenue.
However, some patients may truly lack the funds to pay their bills in full all at once. If there's no way to collect payment on the same day patients receive care, entering into a payment plan is a powerful alternative. With a mutually agreed-upon amount withdrawn on a regular schedule, neither the patient nor your facility will suffer from any surprises. Additionally, your facility won't have to worry about spending employee time on tracking down overdue payments or collecting the next installment.
There are a number of reasons for providers to give their patients a self-service tool for paying their bills. From paying the rest of the bill for a pre-authorized transaction to the simple convenience of paying outside of regular businesses hours. Our own clients see an average of 44 percent of payments arrive outside that time. The simple addition can be adding another layer to your patient payment strategy, providing another avenue to capture revenue and maintain financial stability.
Your facility shouldn't suffer from patient payment issues simply because it doesn't have the right tools to collect that revenue. Put these powerful options in play for a robust and successful strategy.