Emergency department registrars collected an additional $10,000 the month after a training and incentives program was implemented at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.
- Ensure staff thoroughly understand insurance benefits.
- Record registration and financial counseling conversations.
- Use role-playing scenarios based on actual patient interactions.
Collections weren’t much of a priority when copays were just $5 or $10, according to Gregory Kanetis, MPA, director of patient financial services at Lawrence (MA) General Hospital.
“Now, the dollars are more significant,” he says. “What we are trying to do is get the money in the door quicker and reduce our bad debt.”
Kanetis looks for new hires with a financial or customer service background, whether in healthcare or not, such as prior experience in retail, hotels, or banks. “We have modified job descriptions to address this need,” he reports.
Cleveland, OH-based University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center made these changes to increase its collections:
• Each month, someone is awarded prizes for the most cash collected and the most times a payment was taken.
“This is one of our most successful way to get staff collecting,” says Despina Cuva, CHAA, patient access services trainer at UH Case Medical Center. Points are given, which the employee can use to purchase items on the hospital’s employee recognition website.
Employees from all collection areas have an opportunity to earn the incentive. “The ED is measured only against fellow patient access representatives in the ED; radiology is measured only against other radiology reps,” Cuva explains.
• The department has started using a program that gives a more accurate estimate of what the patient will owe.
The estimate is based on the CPT codes submitted by the surgeon and the benefits obtained from the patient’s insurance. “The patients appreciate knowing what their liability will be before they have the procedure,” says Cuva.
Previously, estimates were completed only for self-pay patients, and it was a manual process. “We always collected co-pays, but this tool has allowed us to expand to quoting deductibles and co-insurance for procedures, tests, and surgeries,” says Cuva.