Author: Emily Fisher, Division President & Chief Operations Officer of the Patient Outreach Division, Elevate Patient Financial Solutions®
Accessing healthcare can be a stressful experience for patients, especially when they are not sure how they’re going to pay for care. A 2020 Kaiser Family Foundation survey showed that almost two-thirds of adults say they worry about affording unexpected medical bills more than other household expenses.¹ Additionally, according to the 2023 Milliman Medical Index, healthcare costs continue to rise for U.S. families and are projected to average more than $31,000 for a family of four this year.² Despite this reality and the challenges healthcare providers face due to increasing costs and labor shortages, there is help. By outsourcing eligibility and self-pay services to a trusted revenue cycle management vendor, healthcare providers can ensure their patients have a positive healthcare experience while increasing their bottom line.
Putting the Patient First
While it is an RCM vendor’s job to assist patients with their medical bills by offering comprehensive and effective eligibility and self-pay solutions, it is important that healthcare organizations have a partner that provides caring and empathy to their patients, as well as financial advocacy. While empathy is often attributed to better patient-physician relationships, patient advocates and patient service representatives who show compassion to patients can also greatly improve the healthcare experience. Putting the patient first helps build loyalty, increases trust, and improves patient satisfaction.
Compassionate Advocacy Training
A critical value that an RCM vendor should have is compassion. Compassion for patients not only improves their experience, but it also leads to higher reimbursement rates. Eligibility and self-pay services centered on compassion and empathetic patient advocacy provide hospitals with a targeted revenue recovery solution for their uninsured and underinsured populations. This value is demonstrated by the comprehensive training a vendor gives their staff and the checks that are in place to screen and monitor the level of service staff provide. Training that focuses on empathy and listening skills provides patients with someone they can easily engage with and trust to work through difficult situations, resulting in a better patient experience. And patients who are highly satisfied with their experience are likely to return.³
Another essential part to achieving higher patient satisfaction and a positive patient experience is by communicating clearly and effectively with patients.⁴ This includes providing timely communications, offering flexible payment options, using patient-friendly language and a variety of communication avenues to help patients remember and understand information — including text messages, phone calls, and letters. Compassionate, clear communication increases understanding and empowers patients to take financial responsibility.
Experts Who Care
Having compassionate patient advocate experts onsite at a healthcare provider’s facility helps guide patients through every phase of the application and appeals process for federal, state, and community benefit programs and ensures the patient’s needs are met. Providers should be reassured knowing they have a strategic partner with the resources to support patients in any state they reside in and who works for the best interest of all involved. An effective vendor will tailor their approach and processes to a provider’s needs to deliver a better experience and increased access to care for their patients, while optimizing revenue recovery for the provider.
Look for an RCM vendor that focuses on the patient and can advocate for them and assist in enrolling them in a variety of eligibility programs while they are in the hospital and is also able to educate and provide compassionate customer service to patients after they receive care. You’ll want a company that works with you to help patients understand what programs they could be eligible for and educate them about their statements, their balance, and their insurance options in a timely, respectful, and effective manner. This eliminates patient frustrations and increases a provider’s revenue recovery.
Elevate Patient Financial Solutions® is a proven RCM partner that provides a range of services, including Eligibility & Disability Enrollment, Self-Pay, Third Party Liability, Workers’ Compensation, Veterans Administration, COB Denials, Out-of-State Eligibility, and A/R Services, including High and Low Balance A/R projects, Zero Balance Payment Recovery, Legacy Receivables and Extended Business Office engagements. As a strategic partner with more than four decades of experience serving hospitals and health systems across the nation, ElevatePFS has the people, processes, and technology to deliver greater revenue recovery and an elevated client and patient experience. ElevatePFS was recently named a top performer for eligibility and enrollment services in KLAS’ “Eligibility & Enrollment Services 2023” report.5
Article originally published at https://elevatepfs.com/compassionate_advocacy/.
- Kaiser Family Foundation, “Data Note: Public Worries About And Experience With Surprise Medical Bills,” Lunna Lopes, Audrey Kearney, Liz Hamel, and Mollyann Brodie, February 20, 2020. https://www.kff.org/health-costs/poll-finding/data-note-public-worries-about-and-experience-with-surprise-medical-bills/
- Milliman, “2023 Milliman Medical Index,” Deana Bell, Mike Gaal, Paul R. Houchens, David M. Liner, Annie Man, Andrew L. Naugle, and Doug Norris, May 25, 2023. https://us.milliman.com/en/insight/2023-milliman-medical-index
- National Library of Medicine, “Understanding patient willingness to recommend and return: a strategy for prioritizing improvement opportunities,” T E Burroughs, A R Davies, J C Cira, and W C Dunagan, June 25, 1999. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10367265/
- The Beryl Institute – Ipsos PX Pulse, “Consumer Perspectives on Patient Experience in the U.S.,” November 2022. https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.theberylinstitute.org/resource/resmgr/pxpulse/TBI_PXPulse_Q3_Nov2022.pdf
- KLAS Research, “Eligibility and Enrollment Services 2023”, M Hunt, J Christensen, S Howell, April 4, 2023. https://klasresearch.com/report/eligibility-and-enrollment-services-2023-an-initial-look-at-client-satisfaction/3026