Due to the increased enrollment in high deductible health plans (HDHPs), we’ve seen an increase in patient responsibility like never before. In 2010, 10 million consumers were enrolled in HDHPs. Less than a decade later, 75 million consumers are enrolled in HDHPs, a more than seven-fold increase.
The trend of increasing patient responsibility requires providers to rely on patients for a larger portion of their revenue and, not surprisingly, the burden to collect from patients has become a growing concern. Forward-thinking providers are turning to automated payment options which assist in collecting revenue that might otherwise go uncollected. Automated payment channels leverage an electronic payment method saved on file to collect a patient payment automatically.
Providers are seeing success with automatic payment processes
Sierra Pacific Orthopedics is a comprehensive muscular skeletal practice in Fresno, California serves up to 500 patients a day with a staff of 22 physicians and 50 total providers. Sierra Pacific Orthopedics faced significant increases in patient responsibility and no clear or simple way to collect these payments. The practice needed a way to increase collections without significant staff and with supported integration with NextGen® Enterprise PM.
Joe Clark, CEO of Sierra Pacific Orthopedics, voiced his frustration:
If a patient has not paid their balance, providers essentially loan them that money without any assurance of payment. Medical groups practice medicine; they are not creditors. We needed a way to make sure patients paid their responsibility without any additional costs to collect.
Sierra Pacific Orthopedics approached the challenge of collecting from patients from two angles: implementing new technology to automate payment collections and changing their collection process. To automate collections, Sierra Pacific Orthopedics leveraged the InstaMed Auto Payment Collect™ solution. With this solution, Sierra Pacific Orthopedics can securely save a patient’s payment method on file and automatically collect patient responsibility when a claim is adjudicated. As a result, statement printing is automatically suppressed and all manual processes to collect are eliminated. The patient receives an email receipt and the payments automatically post into NextGen® Enterprise PM.
However, Sierra Pacific Orthopedics understood that for this new technology to be effective, they had to adjust their process for collecting payments. They trained staff to change patient conversations and discuss patient responsibility upfront. They also established a new billing policy that required all patients to keep a payment method saved on file, and ensured staff explained payments would be automatically collected once a balance was due.
The results were astounding
automated over 80% of patient payments
decreased bad debt by 35%
decreased payments that required manual posting and reconciliation by 63%
And their CEO took note:
More than 80 percent of our payment collections are automated, and that number is growing every day. The best part is that we are guaranteeing more revenue with fewer resources, in less time and at a lower cost. As a result, the practice’s days in accounts receivable have decreased by 16 percent and the percentage of patient balances over 90 days has decreased by 44 percent, reaching an all-time low.