Paving the Way for Patient Payments:
3 Fast Lanes to Success

Lessons Learned from the MGMA Health Systems Summit, May 2016

Patient payment success means collecting what’s owed, but that’s only the beginning. Patient engagement and satisfaction, cost to collect and staff productivity are just a few additional factors a healthcare organization must address in its patient payment strategy. It’s not surprising today’s best practice patient payment strategy is heavily weighted in favor of pre-service and time-of-service workflow – with several steps to take before the patient ever steps foot in your door.

On the road to patient payment success, consider the following three fast lanes: process, technology and engagement.

Lane 1: Processes
Adopt new staff- and patient-driven workflows to motivate your entire organization to work collaboratively.

Staff-driven

Patient-driven

  • Obtain buy-in from key stakeholders such as front office/patient access team, revenue cycle staff, physicians
  • Communicate with as much of the organization as possible regarding new processes and reasoning behind them
  • Review new processes with front-line staff and ask them to brainstorm patient questions
  • Conduct thorough training for front-line staff with emphasis on role-playing and script practice. Include scenarios such as:
    • Standard (no issues) patient discussion
    • Patient challenges the amount owed
    • Patient doesn’t want to pay anything at time of care

Pre-service

  • Conduct pre-service reminder calls
    • Notify patients that staff will review new financial policy with them upon arrival
    • Let patients know what their estimated out-of-pocket costs will be
    • Collect email address and enter patient information into practice management/patient accounting  technology

Time of service

  • Review and obtain signature on revised financial policy
  • Review and obtain signature on estimated care costs
  • Discuss timeline and options for paying balance in full
    • Schedule payment plans: establish duration, amount and recurring payment date
    • Explain online bill pay/account management
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Why role-playing can help:

26% cite educating patients about their financial responsibility as their biggest patient payment challenge.* 

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What’s the deal with payment plans?

72% of those who use automated payment plans would recommend them to a friend/peer.*

Lane 2: Technology
Equip your team with the necessary technology to streamline processes and promote a workplace of efficiency and accuracy.
These tools can help:
  • Determine patient eligibility
  • Develop a PDF (to be printed or viewed via a tablet) of the patient estimate
  • Collect payment at time of service
  • Securely store credit card on file
  • If applicable, establish payment plan; determine plan parameters such as amount and day for automated recurring payment
A recent survey found only 35% have a credit card on file solution, yet 64% of those users would recommend it to a friend/peer.
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How a credit card on file solution works:

The tool automatically charges a card post-adjudication once patient responsibility is known, helping to speed up days in A/R by shortening the time it takes to receive patient payments.

Lane 3:  Engagement
Establish activities to ensure patients understand your organization's payment policies.
Take these steps:
  • Develop an updated financial policy with an emphasis on proactivity:
    • Establish firm guidelines regarding timeline to pay balances
    • Offer early payment or payment-in-full discounts
    • Convey you’ll be communicating at pre, time of and post-service
    • Communicate the why (e.g., to provide information as early as possible so patients can financially plan)
  • Conduct 1:1 review of new financial policy and obtain patient signature
  • Review patient estimate and explain patient’s financial responsibility
  • Review options for payment (e.g., scheduled payment plans, online account management)
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Nearly one-third of hospital and health system executives have indicated a top priority is developing consumer-focused pricing strategies to increase patient satisfaction and engagement.**

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The bottom line:

With a proactive patient payments strategy established, you’re taking steps before your patients arrive to help ensure they understand their financial responsibilities and have a plan to pay balances in full.

Learn additional best practices for achieving patient payments success by downloading the white paper, Patient Collections: Business Critical for Today’s Medical Practices, written by revenue cycle expert Elizabeth Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC.

Let us show you how Navicure’s patient and staff-friendly payment solutions can pave the way to your organization’s patient collections success. Request a guided tour of Navicure® Payments™ and Navicure® Care Estimator™ today!