Revenue Cycle Industry Trends: Here Comes 2015
We’re back, with the second entry of our MediRevv Industry Trends blog series. Last time, we took a quick look at the trend of declining inpatient and increasing outpatient services. Today, we’d like to take a look at some of the coming trends in healthcare for 2015.
INDUSTRY TRENDS: HERE COMES 2015
We’ve talked a lot in the past about patient financial responsibility and the need for a sound self pay strategy. Increasing patient financial responsibility is definitely a trend that’s continuing for 2015, as evident in a recent FierceHealthFinance article.
Citing a report by the Consumer Financial Bureau (CFPB), the piece highlights what it calls the “unsettling portrait” of the magnitude of current US patient debt. According to the study, nearly 43 million Americans are carrying unpaid medical debt, and a full 52 percent of debt reported to collections is medical.
The Associated Press points to consumer confusion as a reason for the situation, confusion often related to complicated bills or a lack of patient awareness that they had an obligation in the first place.
More than ever, developing a winning self pay strategy to address this trend should be a top priority for your organization. Here, from a previous MediRevv blog series on self pay collections, is a review of some of our suggested considerations for developing a successful game plan:
Communication is everything Sending statements and leaving it there, as many providers do, is unacceptable. It’s been proven that continuously communicating with patients improves your chances of collecting the money they owe you significantly. Oftentimes patients simply don’t understand certain aspects of their bills and become overwhelmed. By educating them about the various aspects of their charges and inviting them to ask questions, you’ll knock down the wall they’ve put up between you and your chances of collecting are much stronger.
March to the drumbeat of consistent follow up After your statements are sent, follow an established sequence of consistent outreach. Remember, for every 30 days that pass, your chances of collecting drop by as much as 50%. Remain vigilant in your follow-up contact with your patients, perhaps through an orchestrated calling campaign.
Provide the option of online payment Catering to your patients’ preferences regarding payment is a good idea, and today many patients, young and old, are used to online transactions. Giving them options that suit their preferences will hasten payment and reduce your associated administrative costs. It’s also a good idea to offer email or text notifications regarding the status of their balances and when payments are coming due.
Self pay is definitely a continuing trend as we enter 2015 and, as was the case in 2014, there’s going to be a lot to keep track of this year. We’ll keep an eye on it all for you, and will report back in future MediRevv Industry Trends.