The American healthcare system is a nightmare for most patients. Navigating healthcare costs is almost impossible due to the lack of transparency, changing insurance fee schedules, and a general lack of financial knowledge among patients.
Healthcare, including behavioral healthcare, is a highly complex environment for patients and it normally does not deliver a pleasant patient financial experience. Complicated bills, mountains of paperwork, and no one is there to help you navigate the chaos; and then there are the collection calls.
Obviously, Healthcare needs a new playbook when it comes to patient financial management. Unfortunately, in most healthcare companies there is no patient financial management department, or even a Director, manager, or Vice president of Patient Financial Management. In more simple terms, healthcare is broken down into three segments, admission, clinical care, and billing. Each segment has a primary objective, unfortunately being responsible for the patient’s financial experience isn’t one of them. If no one within the healthcare system owns patient financial management from start to finish, the patient financial experience will always be something less than.
Take it from the politicians: healthcare is an economic issue. In fact, it’s one of the most important ones.
Every healthcare executive is familiar with the term revenue cycle management (RCM), but surprisingly few know what patient financial management (PFM) is. That is truly unfortunate because patient financial management is a system of revenue planning grounded in transparency and preparation that has been proven to convert nearly all unrecoverable patient financial responsibility. PFM companies like FinPay have demonstrated time and time again that their innovative pre-care patient engagement strategies work.
It is almost 2020, which means a new cycle of patient delinquency for most health care organizations. As the calendar resets, so too do the health plans of most U.S. households, leaving them with an enormous financial responsibility—their annual health plan deductible. For many families, this deductible makes medical care financially unviable and forces them to delay or completely forego making payments to providers or seeking care at all.
According to a study in the Annals of Family Medicine, the average amount of time that a doctor spent on an individual patient visit was 17.5 minutes. That leaves a lot of time to form an impression of a practice.
Optimal patient health is the collective goal of the healthcare industry, but in order to provide high-quality care that keeps patients healthy, providers need to be fiscally healthy themselves. Good patient financial management is a crucial part of this health: Keeping revenue high while strong patient relationships.
It is a tragedy when an important healthcare facility serving a needy community has to shut its doors and place the lives of those it serves at risk. Unfortunately, continuing financial losses are forcing the closure of Hahnemann University Hospital, one of the nation’s most historic medical facilities. Hahnemann Hospital, which primarily serves some of the poorest residents of Philadelphia, might have avoided this unhappy outcome if it had implemented a patient financial management program that optimized pre-care patient intervention to strengthen revenue.