We consult with healthcare organizations of all sizes to help develop communication strategies that make the most of their limited resources. Those consultations always include a very important question: “Where is your staff and/or call center’s time best spent on patient payments – accounts that are early in the A/R cycle or those that are more significantly delinquent?” The answer is almost always the same: those that are more significantly delinquent. So if we know that, why bother asking?
It’s all about solidifying where the team should focus their manual efforts in driving patient payments. When a large part of a team’s bandwidth is tied up communicating with early-stage accounts, they’re not able to focus on the more problematic (and often higher balance) accounts that truly need their interaction and expertise.
Enlist an automated solution to connect with patients early, preferably right after they have received their first statement. Using an automated phone call there can offer them a chance to transfer and make payment, direct them to a payment portal or maybe simply confirm that insurance has been processed and this is the final amount owed.
Another reason to encourage an automated solution for these early-stage contacts is that these solutions can cover a lot of ground in a very short amount of time. In theory, the highest volume of past due accounts will be in this “bucket”, and many times, a staff or call center doesn’t have the capacity to touch them all. This lack of a connection can result in a high volume of additional statements and the costs associated with those. It also leaves patients less likely to make their payment – pushing them further down the line into 60-day and 90-day A/R lists. If we can touch those accounts early, we can avoid having them make it to those later stages.
Fewer accounts in the later A/R stages means more time for the staff to focus on the ones that DO make it there. And that’s where the team can really shine – taking the time to work with patients on payment plans and anything else they need to resolve their account.
Are you blending automated and manual outreach to drive patient payments in your organization?