Creating comprehensive patient payment plans makes it painless for staff and members.
If you think it’s tough to create a comprehensive patient payment plan among the staff members of your own practice, imagine doing it with 115 physicians and staff spread across six locations in Utah, who process more than 1,000 claims per day.
Granger Medical Clinic (GMC), the largest independent multi-specialty medical clinic group in Utah’s Salt Lake Valley. GMC was facing the same issues as smaller practices: an increasing number of patients responsible for a higher financial burden of their healthcare through high deductibles and copays. What’s more, they were losing money once those patients walked out the door, mostly because of a soft or absent payment policy and training for staff.
“We had opportunities to collect missed and it forced things to the back end when a lot could have been resolved on the front end (of operations),” said Tim Ledbetter, former director of revenue cycle operations for GMC. Ledbetter discussed GMC’s collections transformation at a session during this year’s Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Las Vegas. Ledbetter noted that across healthcare today, out-of-pocket spending for patients is on the rise, not only among plans affiliated with the Affordable Care Act, but also those sponsored by employers. Add to that rising medical debt among patients and practices are facing a tough situation with those who actually show up for treatment.
A 2014 Bankrate survey indicated that 55 percent of patients worry they won’t have enough savings to pay their medical bills. “You have more than half of patients walking into a clinic not just worried about their care and services, but also paying that bill.” Ledbetter continued, “That’s a lot of stress walking in the door.” To collect more on the front end of patient visits, GMC gathered its internal stakeholders (physicians, front-desk staff, etc.), as well as its health IT vendors to not only come up with a standardized policy for its six locations, but a technology process to both manage and streamline it.