New ED copay process means service is key

Service became a pressing issue when registrars at Blanchard Valley Health System in Findlay, OH, started ED and high-dollar outpatient copay collection.

"We were somewhat nervous about it," says Michelle M. Mohrbach, CHAM, manager of patient access and central scheduling "This is a small community, and we had never asked anyone for money."

Scripting was used to explain that copay collection was a new service being provided to the patient, and patients were offered a 5% prompt pay discount. For outpatient collections, registrars say, "I've checked your insurance benefits for your upcoming testing, so that you won't have any surprises. I want to let you know that we determined your out-of-pocket expense will be $. You have a $ deductible of which $ has been met. The approximate cost of your procedure will be $. If you'd like to take care of that now, we can accept payment over the phone, or you could bring in a check on the date of service if you prefer."

Mohrbach says, "Depending on the response, we also offer payment arrangements or the opportunity to talk to a financial counselor for screening for assistance programs." ED registrars tell patients, "I've checked your insurance, and your ED benefits include a $ copay. Would you like to take care of that now?"

Mohrbach says, "We probably got a few crazy looks in the beginning, but the funny things is that now people are stopping without being asked. They want to make those payments."