Erika Grotto, editor and host of HFMA’s Voices in Healthcare Finance podcast, sat down with ClearBalance HealthCare® VP of Marketing, Laurie Heavey, to discuss revenue cycle priorities for patient out-of-pocket costs. ClearBalance’s patient financing solution, which recently was named Best in KLAS for patient financial services, offers hospitals and health systems a proven, consumer-centric solution for patient financing.
As Grotto explains in the episode, economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have had a dramatic, at times crippling, effect on healthcare. Healthcare organizations across the country saw staggering losses in 2020 as approximately 14.6 million individuals and dependents lost employee-sponsored health insurance.
In this podcast Heavey shares findings from a recent survey conducted by HFMA and ClearBalance. The survey identifies three key areas for healthcare finance executives to consider for patient-friendly payment solutions: compassion, convenience and cash flow management.
- Compassion — Revenue cycle leaders realize that patients are consumers, and many have been hit hard financially due to the ongoing pandemic. Because of this, 52.6% of health providers are focused on giving patients several payment alternatives to help ensure a revenue stream.
- Convenience — More than half of survey participants, 52.2%, are moving forward with online and digital self-service options. This trend, which began a few years ago, has recently sped up to meet the needs of virtual patient financial engagement. Whether providers look to use their website as a digital front door, offer estimate tools and self-select payment paths, or create barcodes on statements for easy payment, they are taking a step back to think holistically, moving beyond payment portals.
- Cash Flow Management — Last but not least, more organizations now offer long-term patient financing through a third-party partner rather than handling payment plans in-house. This strategy enables vendor partners to fund health systems for the patient balance immediately rather than the organization carrying a balance on their books for multiple years.
Finally, Heavey recommends healthcare providers ensure the payment process is seamless to support a positive patient financial experience. She reminds providers to be mindful of different payment methods that are gaining traction as consumer retail tools, including PayPal®, Zelle® and even voice payments via Amazon Alexa®. These technologies, when combined with affordable patient financing programs such as ClearBalance, give consumers greater peace of mind that they can afford care.
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