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Perspectives

The January effect

Turning patient receivables into cash

As high deductible insurance plans continue to gain in popularity, collecting patient liability up front is key. This piece explores front-end tactics providers can take to reduce the impact of the adverse shift in patient cash collections at the beginning of the year, and methods to optimize patient payment throughout the year.

The effect of rising patient payment obligations and how providers may reduce its growth

This article is the first of two insights about how rising patient payment obligations affect hospital bad debt and what informed providers are doing to reduce its growth.

Today’s health insurance plans include larger deductibles, higher co-insurance rates, and co-pays which emphasizes the need to collect these payments.

With more financial responsibility on the patient, what are the most effective ways for health care providers to timely collect those out-of-pocket payments? What are the current impacts of high deductible plans on cash collections? How do providers utilize data analytics to implement innovative solutions?

This article, the first of two insights on patient payment optimization initiatives, explores the adverse shift in patient cash collections at the beginning of the year when changes to benefits or rates to health insurance plans are made, and identifies front-end tactics to help minimize the impact.

The second insight on patient payment optimization initiatives, The revenue evolution examines the back-end effect of total margin loss from uncollected patient revenue and offers ways to increase cash collections post-service.

Key considerations

Health care providers can effectively care for patients and improve collections from the start of the revenue cycle through tactics including:

  • Making patients aware of the costs, what they are responsible for, and identifying methods for payments before receiving services
  • Identifying flexed and varied staffing in areas of pre-service, point-of-service, and financial counseling in order to better manage volume increase
  • Identifying creative payment options for patients along with convenient opportunities to pay before, during, or promptly after service
  • Putting in place dynamic, predictive algorithms to determine the propensity to pay
  • Aligning collection efforts with patient engagement strategies

About the Sustaining Success series

The demand to derive greater value from health care is urgent and pervasive. Leading hospitals and health systems are identifying strategies which transcend traditional cost reduction and respond to new payment models. Providers that increase value will likely be the most competitive. Organizations that fail to improve value and protect future margins are likely to encounter growing pressure.

The series of articles shares examples of how health care providers are pursuing value through both short- and long-term initiatives within the dimension of performance improvement. Providing a view beyond traditional cost cutting methods, the series explores how providers can utilize data analytics to identify and implement innovative solutions.

Visit the Sustaining Success series archive to explore the current digest of analytics-based perspectives on performance improvement in health care.

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