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3 Ways to Improve Patient Collections Through Pre-Service Calls

January 13, 2022

A strong self-pay patient collections process is more important to the healthcare revenue cycle and overall bottom line than ever before. Why? For many healthcare organizations, it’s only about one-third of self-pay patients – those without health insurance or who have a balance after insurance – who account for up to 80% of the self-pay revenue hospitals attempt to collect.

With such a large portion of their revenue on the line, more hospitals and health systems are emphasizing self-pay collection procedures – starting as early as pre-service phone calls.

What is a Pre-Service Call?

Many organizations are finding success by beginning a conversation about patient responsibility as early as scheduling or pre-registration. If not discussed at scheduling, there is another opportunity prior to the time-of-service for any services, procedures, tests, and medications that require a pre-service review before you receive care. 

Revco Solutions currently assists several health systems with their pre-service collections. In our experience, there are three pivotal points to an effective pre-service collection call:

Patient Education

Patients must understand their financial responsibility and what the healthcare system expects of them. The more education and understanding you can provide, the more likely they are to pay in full. However, it is important to note that this education must begin early and occur often. 

Providing cost estimates and starting financial conversations pre-service can help patients understand your financial policy and their responsibilities within it. Doing so helps patients avoid unexpected bills and work throughout their course of care to establish payment arrangements, giving them the financial peace of mind they need during what is likely a difficult time. 

Patient-Centered Scripts and Staff Training

Equally (if not more) important to this process than patient education is staff education. The employees working these accounts are not collectors, they are educators. Educate your patients through patient-friendly scripts. Begin a conversation that avoids demotivating language. For example “You have to” is replaced by “To manage this account now” and “You need to” is replaced with “As a service to you.” Avoiding closed-ended questions also increases engagement and furthers opportunities for payment and successful calls. Review call scripts often to ensure a soft and confident approach.

Technology

Leveraging the latest in business intelligence and collection technology has become a game-changer in the healthcare industry. Not only do these tools allow you to start a call with patient-specific information and payment trends at your fingertips, but they also help to understand a specific patient’s propensity to pay and provide oversight into the patient experience through full transparency. For example, Revco Solutions can offer total transparency to all clients through our web portal, FACSWeb, and business intelligence suite, as well as 100% Call Auditing, dialing and call technology, secure payment processing, and real-time reporting.

Revco Solutions also wants to help your patients avoid unexpected medical bills and help them understand their financial responsibility. Our Early-Out Program can be customized to meet your specific needs, improve the patient experience, and boost your bottom line. If your healthcare organization is looking to take the next step in collections, contact us to learn more.

Affiliations Audits & Achievements

  • HFMA: Healthcare, financial, management, association
  • AAHAM: American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
  • ACA International

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