Uncompensated care is an issue for all types of healthcare providers. The medical field is especially complicated when it comes to difficult questions revolving around providing care for patients who can't pay their bills. Those concerns simply don't exist in many other industries. The instincts of medical professionals and the unique nature of healthcare can make answering such questions practically an incredibly difficult or impossible task.
There's some good news related to uncompensated care on an industrywide level. According to RevCycleIntelligence, Medicaid expansion programs that started in 2014 have sizably reduced the total amount of uncompensated care provided in the U.S., creating approximately $6 billion in cost reductions. While uncompensated care has seen a significant drop, associated cuts in Medicaid payments may reduce that advantage - even to the point where financially, providers are in a net negative position compared to before the reduction in uncompensated care.
"Using advanced payment solutions gives more options to patients."
Making Improvements on the Individual Provider Level
It's difficult and frustrating to rely on the larger movements of major healthcare players like Medicaid to make changes that result in a healthier revenue cycle. Healthcare systems should seek out ways to collect more of the money patients are obligated to pay and implement systems that make such demands simple and effective. An electronic payment systems is one major element that can drive this change. When healthcare providers have a modern approach to both patient-facing components and management tools of healthcare payment systems, they position themselves in a very advantageous way.
Using an advanced payment solution gives patients more options. It creates the perfect combination between how they can pay, and what they pay with. For example, accepting cash, check, or card for one-time, recurring, or online payments finds the most opportune solution for a patient to pay. Improved back-office management means it's far easier for administrators and staff to identify delinquent payments and address them. With more payment options in place, it's more likely that patients and staff can find an approach or compromise that works for everyone involved.
Although Medicaid expansion programs have helped limit the amount of uncompensated care in the US, there are still changes healthcare facilities can make to continue helping the revenue cycle. When healthcare providers make improvements themselves, they take control of uncompensated care and improve the process of patient payments.