Improving Point-of-Service (POS) Patient Collections

Increased Patient Financial Responsibility

In the current healthcare climate, more and more patients are opting for high-deductible healthcare plans resulting in increased patient financial responsibility. Due to high deductible healthcare plans patients has to make large out-of-pocket payments to receive treatment. Few years before physician facilities, and hospitals were not that dependent on patient portions as they are today. As per the InstaMed report, three-quarters of providers reported a boost in patient financial responsibility in 2016. This hurts a facility’s revenue cycle, which could be millions of dollars of missed revenue. Focusing on patient insurance coverage and improving point-of-service (POS) patient collections becomes crucial. 

Availity surveyed over 300 physician practices and 200 hospitals and as per the report, more than 90% of these 500+ surveyed providers embraced the need of improving point-of-service patient collections. Improving POS patient collections is key to encourage a healthier revenue cycle and earning a more favorable bottom line. Collecting payment prior to providing service seems straightforward in theory, but it is not being put into practice by many providers. As per the Availity survey, the physician practices reported only collecting about 35% of POS payments, and the hospitals reported only 19% of POS collections. We shared some tips which will help you in improving point-of-service (POS) patient collections.

Improving Point-of-Service (POS) Patient Collections

Increase Price Transparency

As per the Pioneer Institute survey, 54 percent of acute care hospitals reported that their organizations are ill-prepared to provide price information to patients. This survey also found that providers are not conveniently giving price information to patients. If patients know how much healthcare services cost upfront, they may be financially well planned and prepared. This will reduce patient confusion and can increase patient collections. Doing prior eligibility and benefits verification can help you to find insurance coverage for any patient and the percentage of patient responsibility. Healthcare organizations must increase price transparency to keep revenue streams flowing.

Improve Internal Communication

Revenue cycle management is considered as a backend function while client relation is a frontend function. The backend and frontend teams should communicate more often to identify patient financial responsibilities. The team should work together to understand what services a patient’s health plan will cover, how much the health plan will pay, and what patients will owe. By knowing the exact patient financial responsibility amounts, front-end staff can communicate that number to patients, and backend staff can better track what will be paid and by whom. With improved communication, front-end staff can better calculate accurate payment estimates at the point-of-service, and backend staff can submit cleaner claims the first time.

Train Staff on Financial Responsibility

Train your frontend staff on patient financial responsibility basics, such as defining key terms like co-pay and deductible. Staff will be more confident if they understand and have the information in front of them and understand what patients actually asking for. The more staff understand, the more comfortable they may be with having difficult financial discussions and asking for patient payments upfront. Patients will display more trust in healthcare organizations if the staff is well trained and understands patient financial responsibility. Healthcare organizations can also give front-end staff scripts asking how the patient will pay at the point-of-service or methods. 

Provide Electronic Payment Options

Healthcare organizations must provide more electronic payment options in their office and on their websites, especially in a time where credit cards and smartphone payment apps are overtaking cash and checks. The Instamed report revealed that 70 percent of healthcare consumers preferred an electronic payment method, such as credit cards or eChecks, and another 64 percent expressed interest in using a mobile payment system, such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Android Pay. The same report also showed that providers could face losing customers if they do not implement electronic payment methods. Manual patient payment methods can slow down the collection and make point-of-service collections nearly impossible. Roughly half of the consumers surveyed stated that they would change providers for the ability to pay using a preferred method.

Although many healthcare organizations are seeing the change in revenue sources, they still have not implemented effective point-of-service patient collection strategies. Even if a patient cannot pay their bill in full at the time of their visit, POS collections strategies ensure that at least part of the bill will be paid and gives the patient the opportunity to sign up for financing options at that time if needed. We hope the above tips on improving point-of-service (POS) patient collections will help them in better patient collections. If you need assistance in increasing your patient and insurance collections, contact us at 888-357-3226

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