Availity study reveals gap between provider awareness and related collection practices

Jacksonville, FLA., Mar. 3, 2015 – While 85 percent of providers agree that patient financial responsibility is increasing, and 90 percent believe collecting from patients before they leave the office is important, less than 35 percent of patient-owed dollars are being collected up front. This is according to a study published today by Availity, the nation’s leading health information network.

The Impact of Consumerism on Provider Revenues study takes a focused look at the growth of high-deductible health plans and how it is forcing providers to re-tool their patient collection practices. Feedback from more than 300 physician practices and 200 hospitals revealed:

  • 90+ percent of providers state that high-deductible plans are becoming much more common.
  • An average 90 percent of physician practices and facilities agree that collecting patient financial responsibilities before the patient leaves the office is important.
  • Physician practices report collecting only 35 percent of fees due from patients at or before their office visit.
  • Hospitals report collecting just 19 percent of patient fees at or before the point of service.

“This study confirms that providers recognize the need to transform how and when they go about collecting patient fees,” said Russ Thomas, Availity CEO. “One of the key insights is that the conversation with the patient has to start early – at or before the point of service – if providers are to reduce the amount of bad debt they’re currently experiencing.”

Thomas added that while it’s not realistic to expect providers to collect 100 percent of what is owed from every patient at or before the point of service, patient engagement has to start early. By enabling providers with tools to have the right conversation with the patient at the right time, more will be collected up front and that will be complemented with other methods, like payment plans and charitable assistance.

According to the study, more than 80 percent of respondents have made recent investments in software and staff to manage up-front patient collections, and cite patient access tools for significantly improving both collections and cash flow.

The study further details provider feedback on patients’ ability to pay their bills, provider utilization of patient access tools, key features, and acquisition expectations. A live webinar presentation of the findings is scheduled for Thursday, March 5th at 12:00 p.m. ET. To register, please visit www.availity.com/research-study-webinar.

About Availity

As an industry-leading, HITRUST-certified health care information technology company, Availity serves an extensive network of health plans, providers, and technology partners nationwide through a suite of dynamic products built on a powerful, intelligent platform. Availity integrates and manages the clinical, administrative, and financial data needed to fuel real-time coordination between providers, health plans, and patients in a growing value-based care environment. Facilitating over 7 million transactions daily, Availity's ability to provide accurate, timely, and relevant information is vital to the financial success of its clients.

For more information, including an online demonstration, please visit www.availity.com or call 1.800.AVAILITY (282.4548).