Today’s patients face bigger medical bills than ever before. And
in many cases, they’re not prepared to pay them.
According to a recent TransUnion Healthcare study, 68 percent of patients
with bills of $500 or less did not pay the full balance in 2016, up from
53 percent in 2015 and 49 percent in 2014. And the trend of not paying
balances in full is only expected to continue: TransUnion’s analysis
predicts the percentage of patients not paying their bills in full will
reach 95 percent by 2020.
As patient financial responsibility increases, providing them with straightforward
financial information is more important than ever. Is your ambulatory
surgery center (ASC) doing everything it can to streamline the billing
experience and optimize collections? Here are several ways to implement
patient-friendly billing practices at your center:
Establish front desk standards
Does your front desk staff collect co-payments at the time of service?
Proper training of office staff is vital to accomplishing this goal, so
consider providing staff with sample scripts on how to request payments.
Whether it’s over the phone or at the time of service, informing
patients of their financial obligation and asking for payment up front
are critical components of improving patient satisfaction — and
in turn, facility performance.
Front office staff is the most important resource when it comes to collecting
payments and following up on outstanding bills. Why? Because collection
rates drop significantly once a patient walks out the door. Implementing
patient-friendly billing standards will change your business for the better.
Consumers want to stay in the loop. Give them the information they need
by providing a description of credit and collection policies to all new
patients. They also won’t be caught off guard. Be concise about
their responsibility for making copayments at the time of service as well
as how your center invoices. Upfront communication simplifies billing
on the back end, making your facility less likely to receive complaints.
And when it comes to bills, standardize written communication and include
essential information only. Bills should include charges at the procedure
level, the portion paid by insurance and the patient’s responsibility.
Also, provide information to help patients better understand how they
can meet their financial obligations. After sending the initial bill,
mail patients monthly balance statements highlighting all current activity.
Simplify the payment process
According to a 2015 PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, nearly a quarter of
consumers “did not find bills simple to pay.” What’s
more, 30 percent of those with self-reported fair or poor health expressed
Do you give patients options when it comes to payments? In today’s
competitive landscape, doing so is a must. Many patients want to pay with
credit and debit cards at the point of service — or pay later through
an online portal. Only accepting cash and checks won’t cut it.
But don’t stop there: Patients should be called periodically and
reminded of their obligations. Twenty-four-hour call center services also
provide patients with the convenience to pay their bills at any time.
Looking to address your ASC’s billing issues? Surgical Notes, the
leading provider of ASC revenue cycle solutions, is a forward-thinking
healthcare IT solutions company dedicated to developing innovative revenue
cycle products and services for the ASC industry. Founded in 1997, we’re
one of the preeminent nationwide providers of transcription, coding, chart
automation and document management, and billing and collections solutions
and services for the ASC industry.
By assimilating Surgical Notes ASC software and services, our clients
have access to an enterprise revenue cycle solution geared toward maximizing
profitability, physician disbursements and business office efficiency.
Surgical Notes RCM continues to provide exceptional client care while
developing cutting-edge technology solutions that the largest management
companies and over 20,000 healthcare providers trust to strengthen their
financial performance. Interested in learning more? Contact us today.