Automating Charity Care Checks For a Better Patient Financial Experience

Claims Management

There’s a phenomenon in online product reviews
where the customer seems to love their purchase, yet gives it only one or two
stars. Why do they do this? Poor customer service: the item was delivered late,
questions went unanswered, or payment processing was disorganized. When the consumer
experience falls below expectations, the brand suffers – no matter how good the
product.

The same thing happens in healthcare. The clinical
care may be outstanding, but if the patient finds billing frustrating or
confusing, it’s those feelings they’ll associate with the overall experience. Many
healthcare providers suffer reputational damage because the patient financial
experience fails to match high quality clinical care.

This is especially true for patients who find
themselves without coverage and in need of financial assistance, which is often
an extremely stressful process. And with unemployment
levels soaring
as a result of the coronavirus
pandemic, it’s likely more Americans will need to explore eligibility for
charitable support. Finding smarter, speedier and scalable ways to check
charity care eligibility is even more important.

Using automation for faster charity care
checks

Automation may be the answer. With a system
that runs checks quickly and easily against vast databases of up-to-the-minute
records, providers can discover a patient’s propensity to pay before treatment
is even carried out. Clarity from the outset ensures the patient is put on the
right payment pathway and lays the groundwork for a positive
patient financial experience
.

Caye Mauney, Patient Access Director for Palo Pinto General Hospital,
tells us how her organization used data-driven financial clearance checks to improve
the patient financial experience and reduce bad debt:

  1. Speeding up checks for earlier eligibility decisions

Prior to using automation, Palo Pinto General used a time-consuming
and labor-intensive paper-based process to determine a patient’s eligibility
for charity assistance. But with automated screening prior to or at the point
of service, the hospital can now verify whether patients qualify for charitable
assistance within three seconds, and quickly connect them to the right program.
For those with a self-pay amount, a Healthcare Financial Risk Score can be
calculated using historical payments information and credit history, to help
determine the optimal payment plan.

Mauney says: “All the information we need is now at our
fingertips. The patient no longer needs to bring in check stubs or go back to a
former employer to ask for information. It’s been a game changer.”

  • Creating a personalized patient experience

At Palo Pinto, staff wanted to make sure that patients were taken
care of not only medically, but financially too. Just as each patient needs
medical care tailored to their individual needs, so too should their financial
accounts be handled on a case by case basis.

With custom payment plans based on an individual’s unique
financial situation, the payment process can be transformed into an experience
that patients no longer dread or avoid.

Automated patient
clearance checks
draw on multiple sources of data and run analytics to quickly
determine the best option for each patient. It can also generate scripts for
patient advocates to use, to help patients navigate the process more easily. Palo
Pinto reports improvements in patient satisfaction and trust as a result of uncomplicating
the patient experience
in this way.

  • Reducing bad debt and increasing point-of-service collections

Seamlessly connecting patients to the right financial assistance
program allows patients to focus on their treatment, while feeling reassured
that their financial obligations will be met. For providers, swift processing
means decisions are made quickly, resulting in fewer accounts receivable delays
and a lower risk of uncompensated
care
.

At Palo Pinto General, quicker charity applications means more are
being approved, and therefore not written off as bad debt – ultimately helping
their bottom line.

Discover how automating checks for charity care eligibility with Patient
Financial Clearance
can help your organization increase productivity,
improve collections and boost patient satisfaction.