For most people, the holiday season brings about the spirit of joy, prosperity, and goodwill towards others. It is a time when we can pause to observe and give thanks for the frequently overlooked blessings in life, including friends, family, and good health. However, this is not the case for everyone. For some, the holiday season may also involve dealing with critical health issues, frequent medical appointments, and the mounting financial pressures of patient billing that follow. For these downtrodden individuals, health issues and expenses can dampen the spirit of the season, preventing them from expressing their appreciation and spreading joy to others. This could mean no gift-giving, dinner-hosting, decorating, or other common festive activities.
There can be good news for your patients as you enter this holiday season. Many healthcare providers across the nation are adjusting their financial policies to align more closely with the expectations and best practices of the consumer market. In doing so, they are able to reduce confusion and ease patients’ financial burden through education and flexible billing and payment options. As reported in a recent Black Book survey, 92% of healthcare consumers stated that improving the customer experience should be a top priority for medical providers. Consider the following best practices that can help patients maintain their holiday spirit and improve patient experience year-round.
- Communicate financial policies to patients effectively prior to service
- Educate patients on the details of their specific insurance plan
- Estimate patient responsibility up front to ensure awareness of the costs patients are expected to pay
- Provide a method to collect co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance balances online
- Offer flexible payment plan options that minimize the impact of large, lump-sum balances
By putting patients at the center of medical billing processes, these practices are helping to ease financial burdens and reduce stress for those in need. It is a gift that lasts throughout the year, but it is particularly impactful during the holiday season. In addition, a more patient-friendly billing process can help your practice improve collections and establish a more predictable cash flow.
If your revenue cycle management (RCM) resources are already strained and unable to keep up with current processes and requirements, you may be interested in our latest white paper, “The 5 Stages of Revenue Cycle Grief.” Get a detailed look at the importance of RCM, symptoms that can result from improperly managed billing processes, and guidance on how to help overcome some of the most common RCM challenges.
Thank you for your readership, and we wish you a prosperous and joyous holiday season!