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Patient access staff at NorthBay Healthcare in Fairfield, CA, use a newly implemented patient payment estimator to tell patients what they’ll owe before they schedule an elective surgery.
"The patient feels like they have the whole story from the very beginning, and we avoid the expense of carrying a balance on accounts receivable, making phone calls, and sending statements," says Lori Eichenberger, interim senior director of revenue cycle management.
About 40% of the hospital’s revenue comes from Medicare patients.
"We find that our Medicare patients are less willing to give us credit card payments over the phone," she says. "After the phone conversation, patients come in prepared to pay."
At Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, patient access leaders created a centralized process to provide estimates in a consistent and seamless manner. "Because it’s embedded in our financial counseling department, it’s enabled us to provide financial assistance as needed for uninsured and underinsured customers," says Lori A. Schwieg, CHAM, CPAR, manager of quality assurance, training, and projects for patient access.
The overall goal is to provide price transparency by providing estimates before services are rendered.
"We expect to see an increase in collections for planned elective services and overall customer satisfaction with the use of payment arrangements and prompt-pay discounts," says Schwieg.