Upfront patient collections for critical access hospitals

The administrative employees of critical access hospitals typically wear many hats. With extremely tight margins and few alternative funding sources, smaller institutions must keep staffing at a minimum to effectively manage cash flow. So, it’s not surprising when the person who checks patients in at the registration desk is the same person who handles administrative responsibilities for the emergency department.

For administrative personnel, juggling multiple responsibilities is just part of the job. But as more financial responsibility shifts from the insurance payer to the patient, that job is getting a lot tougher. Along with determining eligibility and benefits and generating an estimate, staff must now discuss payment options with the patient. These can be uncomfortable conversations for the patient and the staff member. An awkwardly phrased financial question can damage the trust between the patient and the hospital, making it more difficult to collect payment.

patient access solution that includes a scripting feature can help these crucial conversations go more smoothly. The scripting tool, which is accessible from within the workflow, features talking points that are customized to reflect a hospital’s financial policy. It guides front-desk employees on how to talk to the patient and the appropriate times to bring up the issue of payment. Whether an employee is brand new or has 20+ years of experience, knowing the right thing to say and when to say it can increase the chance of collection.

Availity’s Patient Access solution delivers a scripting feature, along with other features designed to optimize patient collections, including address and identity verification, insurance verification and medical necessity, and a contract calculator. Because everything is directly accessible in the employee workflow, it streamlines processes and allows critical access staff to more effectively manage their varied responsibilities.