Following a single hospital encounter, patients often receive multiple bills from a variety of providers. Sometimes these bills are from more than 20, depending upon services provided and how many specialists are involved. Nowadays, patients are becoming more engaged in making healthcare decisions and managing their cost of care. The protection or promotion of the interests of consumers may be the motivation for sending consolidated statements, but the end result will also benefit providers by helping to drive patient satisfaction, collections, and cost savings via less paper, printing, and postage.
One bill may arrive later than the others, frustrating patients who believed they’d already met their financial responsibilities. When patients find that the volume or timing of bills is confusing, they may want to call the billing or customer service department for help but which one, the hospital, provider, or payer’s office?
The significance is expected: late payments and disappointment. In a Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Hospital Survey (HCAHPS), patient satisfaction ratings fell by an average of more than 30% from post-discharge through the billing process. The survey found that poor patient satisfaction can reduce repeat business, also it impacts patients’ recommendations.
Let’s take an example of a patient who has multiple and complex encounters that result in charges from the surgeon, facility, radiologist, and anesthesiologist. Rather than multiple bills for each specialist or service, the patient gets a single statement that clearly mentioned the charge applicable to each provider or service.
If a patient has any queries, they can call a single customer service phone number for answers to questions about any aspect of the consolidated statement. This will increase patient satisfaction, increase in timely payment, and decrease the follow-up. Providers can also benefit from cost savings achieved through economies of scale and staffing efficiencies associated with reduced mailings.
If we look from a patient’s point of view, single statement billing is simpler – everything’s all in one place with one check to write and one-stop shopping for customer service.
Careful while processing
Making the transition to single statement billing will have to remap the process related to customer service and payment allocation. Combining data, billing cycles and patient services can be complex and may be time-consuming. Process this transition with a strong vision, a detailed plan of action, and a purposeful rollout will increase collections and patient satisfaction.
If executed poorly, single-statement billing could potentially alienate patients. It would be better to send three or four statements with easy-to-understand language and charges than a single statement with an unfamiliar, non-intuitive format and cumbersome payment instructions.
There are multiple benefits of consolidated statements, they are significant, but you’ll only have a chance to get it right. Working with a vendor who has already navigated the challenges and discovered solutions will get advantageous results. As you embark on this journey, you’ll want to make sure that your organization is ready, and you’ve taken the steps that have already proven to be essential to success.
Single-statement billing is becoming every day’s routine in today’s market. From digital payments to patient-facing apps to automation and machine learning, advancements in technology are affecting both your operations and patient expectations. These types of innovations are bound to continue, so make sure you work with collaborators who can help you look to the future and stay ahead.