“Treating” Your Patients with Care
A recent AdvantEdge report, “Evaluating the Pandemic Impact on Medical Billing,” focuses on how COVID-19 changed certain dynamics in the healthcare industry, a primary example being the impact on payer mix. Unlike healthcare plans of the past, which gave freedom to consumers to proactively address their healthcare needs without some of the significant financial burdens presented today, current health insurance offerings are forcing more consumers to accept plans with high deductibles and high copays, all while paying high premiums.
In short, the significant economic impact placed on patients to receive the care they need has continued to increase, regardless of the various insurance choices available. More and more, patients think twice about whether that sore shoulder or back pain requires medical attention – or if it can be self-managed.
How AdvantEdge Helps Patients Address this Economic Challenge
When dealing with a medical bill, it is understandable that patients may feel angry, overwhelmed, or upset; they did not choose to get sick or injured, may not have had a choice of provider, and probably didn’t know how much treatment would cost before the visit (or even after the visit but prior to getting a bill). AdvantEdge recognizes these conditions and that paying medical bills is a highly personal and sensitive matter. As a result, AdvantEdge takes a number of measures to ensure that they empathize with the patients’ situations and work towards resolving their bills respectfully. The statement below is from our recent report, which quotes David Langsam, President & CEO, of AdvantEdge Healthcare Solutions:
“The medical billing industry will need to treat patients with compassion, empathy, and a solution-based approach that enables them to meet their financial responsibility with dignity and respect…Since the patient is already under a degree of stress, we must strive to make them feel empowered and appreciated and deliver a positive experience regardless of the pressures of the moment. When evaluating current billing and practice operations to ensure the patient experience achieves these objectives, it’s important to take an in-depth look at your existing processes, vendors, and partnerships.”
- Empathetic Representatives: AdvantEdge spends considerable time and effort finding the right representatives to interact with patients. Our specialists understand that every patient is unique – and so is his or her situation. Instead of starting the conversation by highlighting what the patient may “owe”, first seek to understand their perspective of the situation and walk them through the economics of what was and wasn’t covered by their insurer, and why. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Once our specialist and patient are aligned on the circumstances and status, only then should we be asking the patient how they would like to resolve the outstanding amounts due. In other words, unless you are aligned on the problem, you cannot expect to agree on a solution. Based on the patients’ situations, reminding them that they can use a credit card, or establish a payment plan may also be a great way to be viewed as supportive and on their side. And remember, a healthcare bill is usually both unexpected and undesirable, so care…and as our COO always says, have a smile in your voice.
- Billing Visibility: Unlike going into a store where prices are clearly marked, healthcare is unique in that when visiting your provider for treatment or an appointment, there is usually no simple way of knowing the true costs involved in your care. Oftentimes, patients receive bills, have sticker shock, and become frustrated because – even with the bill in hand – they don’t understand the cost breakdown. AdvantEdge provides visibility into every bill and walks patients through how everything adds up. Visibility and clarity into their financial responsibility goes a long way in helping patients understand and move towards resolving the issue as opposed to rejecting the issue.
- Methods of Payment: Due to its sensitive and private nature, patients like to review and meet their billing responsibilities on their own terms, at their own convenience and through their preferred platforms. AdvantEdge enables billing review and payment options via email, web portal, and even “agentless” telephone inquiry and resolution, as well as implementing text messaging where permissible. Through all of these options, patients are still able to have a live AdvantEdge rep engage if a patient requests such in order to address more complicated questions or collaborate on alternatives.
In part 2, we’ll discuss how AdvantEdge technology plays a critical role in the revenue cycle management process, to ensure that clients receive the payments they are rightfully due for the services they deliver. To stay up-to-date on AdvantEdge and medical billing news, visit our LinkedIn page for more.