Showing posts with label Account Receivable. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Account Receivable. Show all posts

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Servicing Patient Accounts is NOT the Same as Bill Collecting

Today, more than ever, health insurance is both a necessity and a hot button issue. Even families with adequate and above adequate incomes struggle to find decent health insurance plans and be able to afford them. In some families only the children are insured, and the parents take their chances while trying to save up some funds for that proverbial rainy day. In other families, even when both of the parents are working, it is not possible to purchase much health insurance, and so when a major medical crisis occurs, there is a substantial bill that needs to be paid after the emergency is over and all available insurance has been utilized.

It seems to be part of human nature to put our heads in the sand when bad news arrives; this is especially true of past due notices. These ominous-looking missives tend to be put in some kind of “I’ll look at it later” pile and then ignored until forgotten. But in the famous words of J. Reuben Clark, “Debt never sleeps, never tires, is never laid off or sick, and works every day of the week with no holidays or break.” Those who have received services from the hospital that have not yet been paid for don’t seem to realize that it’s always in their best interest to work with the hospital immediately after the bill arrives in order to make arrangements. The longer a former patient ignores his or her account, the harder it becomes to rectify it easily, without hard feelings on both sides.

That is why a patient accounts servicing company, such as Financial Health, can be such a valuable asset in the management of patient receivables. Such a service works with BOTH the hospital and the patient to ensure that the patient continues to receive the same kind of respect and empathy after they are discharged as they experienced while they were in the hospital. This is a basic tenet of all good account management services. The cliched bill collector, heaping abuse and threats on the debtor over the phone, has no place in modern account management practice.

This is something that lawyers have learned as well -- the adversarial mindset is less profitable in the long run than working as a mediator. In dealing with patient accounts, the accounts receivable professional is not only working for and on behalf of the hospital but also working for and on behalf of the patient. It’s not a question of guilt, shame, or threats. The professional account manager is a knowledgeable and dispassionate third party who is there to help both sides negotiate a mutually agreeable payment schedule.

Healthcare receivable management is not a profession for amateurs. There are state and federal laws specifically governing the treatment of past due accounts, as well as innumerable rules and regulations set by the insurance companies. A professional accounts manager must be familiar with all of this, becoming, in the process, part accountant, part lawyer, part negotiator, and part financial advisor.

A professional servicing company like Financial Health will begin interacting with patients who have account issues very early on in the process; this is a proven way to increase receivables and to lessen tension. So if you are a hospital or clinic looking to increase your bottom line, you should look into an account servicing agency soon -- and if you are a patient who is worrying about your bill, you should know that most hospitals today enlist the aid of a professional account servicing company that will treat you with respect and courtesy and have at its fingertips many resources to help you settle your debt in a fair and comfortable manner.

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