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How Hospitals Can Work With In-House Collections (Pt. 3 How Costs for Providers and Consumers Shape Collections)

Measuring the costs for implementing an in-house collection department as opposed to outsourcing with a third-party vendor should be considered comparatively in helping patients resolve their accounts which now bear an increase in financial responsibility.  Providers are also facing an increase in costs related to security and compliance, as well as technology regulations and these things can divert attention from the patients themselves.  

The costs of technology for security coupled with an increase in patient responsibility for healthcare are inspiring healthcare systems and providers to make adjustments to other areas of spending which can include collections.  

Medical bill obligations are not likely to change in the near future.  The amount of employers who are now offering only high deductible plans has grown quite a bit in the last several years and is expected to continue that pattern.  As the percentage of high deductible plans continues to grow, the amount of insureds who choose to forgo a level of healthcare has also increased and will continue to do so in the future.

A recent Kaiser Survey shows that 20 percent of those sampled that currently have health insurance report that they have had problems in paying for medical services in the last year.  They also point out that such bills can cause financial hurdles as well as changes in their lifestyle and even employment.

The survey further points out that of those who had insurance when bills were created, 75 percent of them claim that the amount that was their responsibility (such as copays, coinsurance and deductibles) was more than they felt they could reasonably afford.  The report showed that this seemed to be true of those who had chosen high deductible plans as well as those who had lower deductible plans which could suggest that this is a very real problem since even those who have lower responsibility plans were reporting issues.

Providers can strive to strike a balance between patient medical bill issues and budgeting for compliance and technology investments for the facility.  A balance should also be found between working with patients and front-end expenses such as the implementation of in-house systems that could be beneficial to self-pay collections.

Even though it might be more beneficial for the larger hospital systems to make use of in-house collection departments, tips from the world of banking can still be advantageous to healthcare facilities and systems of all sizes as the shift continues to a greater level of customer service in the healthcare industry while patients continue to take on more financial responsibility.

“To offer a world class patient experience, an investment in training and education of customer service agents is paramount” said Hamilton.

 

Last modified onThursday, 16 June 2016 00:09
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