Implementing a Payment IVR: Easier Than You Think

implementing-a-payment-ivr-easier-than-you-may-think.jpgSelecting new technology for your organization can be a daunting process. Is it the right fit for your organization? Equally important, will it enhance the overall care experience for your patients?

More than ever, today’s healthcare organizations need an integrated approach to collecting patient payments, not the least of which is an armament of technologies that allows patients to choose how, when and where they pay their balances. 

Bottom line, inbound payment IVR (interactive voice response) provides patients more convenience and frees up your inbound phone staff to focus on more complex billing inquiries. It was the clearly the “right” choice for our client, Keck Medicine of USC, whose results (and more) are detailed in this recent post, Payment IVR: Enhancing the Patient Financial Experience.

If you’ve used a payment IVR to pay a phone or utility bill, and have always wondered how one would work in your shop, keep reading.

Patient’s steps: Few and simple

Streamline phone numbers for a seamless patient experience. Your patient-friendly statement should clearly indicate a toll-free and a local number, both directed to your customer service center. At the beginning of the call, the patient is presented with the option to make an automated payment over the phone or speak to a customer service representative.

Just two minutes to pay. When a patient selects the automated payment option, the following steps occur:

  1. The patient is asked to enter the account/reference number indicated on their bill.  Our system performs a lookup of that account number to validate the account number is accurate and has a current balance due. This account number is then passed to the provider for payment posting purposes. Additional validation requirements such as the patient’s date of birth can be added to the audio prompts as needed.
  2. The patient is asked to enter in the amount they wish to pay along with their credit card information or ACH information.
  3. Real-time payment approval is determined and the patient is provided a confirmation number.

Healthcare organization’s steps: Choose a trusted partner

Teamwork makes implementation smooth. At MediRevv, we offer the payment IVR technology as part of our self pay A/R follow up service, so we work closely with our clients throughout the implementation process to ensure successful migration onto the payment IVR platform, including these steps.

  1. Designate the appropriate pay code in the host billing system to use for posting these IVR payments.  
  2. Retrieve a daily IVR payment file from MediRevv from a designated sFTP location. This file will include all approved transactions from the payment IVR for the previous day. The file format and naming convention may be customized to meet payment posting needs.  
  3. Upload the payment file into your host billing system used to post patient payments. We will work closely with you to help design the file formatting to avoid manual payment posting whenever feasible.
  4. Reconcile the IVR payments posted within your billing system to validate against the merchant deposits received for these payments. This should follow the same protocols you are using with current merchant processing.
  5. Issue refunds as appropriate using existing refund procedures in the event of an overpayment by the patient.  

But first, choose a merchant account

To get the backend of the payment IVR functional, healthcare providers will first need to choose a merchant account, either Merchant Underwriting (recommended) or VAR – Value Added Reseller. 

Merchant Underwriting (recommended)

Even if you already have a merchant account, we recommend you submit four months of merchant statements in return for a cost comparison, as many of our clients have discovered significant savings over their current merchant fees. To move forward you just need to complete a simple electronic 6-step merchant application.

VAR – Value Added Reseller

In some instances, healthcare organizations are satisfied with their current merchant processing fees and prefer to use existing merchant account. In this case, we just need a VAR sheet (also known among financial institutions as a “tear off” sheet). The VAR enables MediRevv to connect the portal transactions to that existing account.

Of course, there are bulleted lists of required information for each option. If you’re interested in specifics, shoot us an email and we’ll get right back to you. Sidenote: It’s important to acknowledge that the VAR option does not allow for ACH processing and e-check set-up, whereas the Merchant Underwriting Option does. 

Which option is best depends on the history in your organization of merchant and processing fees. Either way, we have streamlined this payment methodology process for providers to easily incorporate the posting of IVR payments into your current payment posting infrastructure.

MediRevv’s steps: implementation

While you’re working to establish a merchant account, MediRevv sets up your patient IVR feature, including:

  1. Linking the payment IVR to the existing toll-free and local (toll) numbers currently displayed on the patient statements.
  2. Validating the audio script prompts will provide a patient-friendly experience. For example, if the patient account/reference number contains an alpha character, MediRevv will record a special audio insert to help guide the patient to enter the correct number on their phone keypad that corresponds to the letter.
  3. Constructing a Spanish Language IVR option is highly recommended and generated using exceptional and patient-friendly voice talent with our partners.
  4. Creating a daily payment file that will be distributed to the provider to post approved payments from the previous day. 12am CT is our cutoff point.  
  5. Performing validation and file testing with the provider to ensure the file will meet payment posting needs and deposit reconciliation at the provider is established.
  6. Validating audio/testing. We will listen to the payment IVR option and input a test transaction to experience what the patient will experience.  MediRevv will also provide the provider the test IVR phone number along with a listing of test credit card account numbers for their internal testing and confidence with the solution.
  7. Handling all patient and provider inquiries regarding the usage of the payment IVR solution.

The implementation timeline can vary depending on the route the provider chooses for merchant processing. Collaboration on the provider side between patient accounting, finance, treasury, information systems and compliance regarding merchant set-up, payment posting and deposit reconciliation is frequently necessary to expedite implementation.

The Bottom Line

When you’ve made an informed, confident decision regarding inbound payment IVR technology, MediRevv will walk you through the implementation steps, and you’ll be pulling in payments and keeping patients happy in no time at all. In the meantime, why don't you check out one of our free offers? Check it out below.

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About Terry Reinsager, Vice President, Strategic Integration

Terry Reinsager, Vice President, Strategic Integration

Terry is responsible for scoping and driving process improvement, organizational change and functional strategy projects across and within our business. He works confidently with all MediRevv clients as a trusted leader to create the most effective approach to meet their fiscal and patient-centered needs.

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