Offer incentives to top collectors
In 2012, patient access staff at OSF Healthcare in Peoria, IL, collected 69 copays and about $2,900. In 2013, they collected 376 copays and more than $30,000.
"We collect copays for our high-dollar tests: MRI, CT, and cardiology services. We are not currently collecting any payments on low-dollar accounts," says Jacqueline Doerman, MBA, patient access services manager in the hospital’s Patient Accounts & Access Center.
Incentives are the primary reason for this dramatic increase, according to Doerman. "We have different incentives for staff throughout the month for copay collection," she says. These are as follows:
• Any employee that collects anything at all receives a "care coupon" worth $2 at the gift shops or eateries at the hospital.
• The second through fifth top collectors get a "Wow" coupon that is worth $5, and it can be turned in for a variety of gift cards.
• Doerman treats the top copay collector to lunch.
This lunch allows her to interact with the employee and get to know him or her on a personal basis outside of work. "It is also a time for them to get away from the facility and go eat at their favorite restaurant. I pay for it out of my pocket and have really enjoyed it," she says.
Doerman has taken some employees that have been distant with her to lunch. After sharing stories of their children and family, she has grown closer to them as a result.
"I think it helps the morale of the employee, as well as my relationship with them," she says. "They begin to realize that I care about them from a personal perspective, not just work."
Javohir Sahler, a patient access assistant manager in the emergency department at Florida Hospital East Orlando, says, "Incentivizing employees is one way to motivate them to perform at a higher level and therefore sustain their positive results."
At Florida Hospital East Orlando, registrars receive these incentives:
• monetary incentives ranging up to $300 based on monthly performance, including collections, productivity, and accuracy;
• gift certificates ranging from $5 to $25 for winning various announced or unannounced friendly contests such as the most payment plans, the most receipts, or the most dollars secured;
• Florida Emergency Physician incentives. This organization rewards the top four ED representatives for their collections by allocating $200 each month for incentives;
• Gift Shop Program. Based on performance, employees accumulate points that have a value equal to the same number of dollars and use the "dollars" to purchase items from the department "gift shop." Managers keep a small selection of snacks, candy, notepads, and pens on hand for employees to "purchase."
"This one is the most cost-effective method. We are able to keep the items interesting and appealing, and not too expensive," says Sahler.
To get the most out of incentives, Sahler says to set clear targets and follow through when desired results are achieved. Individual and team incentives can be effective, depending on the type of goal or target set by the patient access leader, says Sahler.
"When employees have low team chemistry, they are more likely to work harder toward an individual goal," says Sahler. "It’s always better when the team is able to work together, contribute to the bigger picture, and earn their incentives that way."
- Jacqueline Doerman, MBA, Patient Access Services Manager, Patient Accounts & Access Center, OSF Healthcare, Peoria, IL. Phone: (309) 683-6765. Fax: (309) 683-6792. Email: Jacqueline.D.Doerman@osfhealthcare.org.
- Javohir Sahler, Patient Access Assistant Manager, Florida Hospital East Orlando. Phone: (407) 303-8110, ext. 7303. Fax: (407) 303-6764. Email: Javohir.Sahler@flhosp.org.