This is Part III of a series on maximizing your pre-admissions through effective preregistration and scheduling, prior authorization/pre-certification, and post-contact follow-up. Part I can be found here; click here for Part II.

In parts one and two of this article, you learned the basics of building effective pre-admissions process (see Part I), and have implemented the first two facets of the process: scheduling, prior-authorization/pre-certification (see Part II). Now, in this conclusion, learn about the last piece of the pre-admissions puzzle, post-contact follow-up.

Assisting patients who are unable to pay prior to treatments or who have large existing balances is an important role. This assistance can include assessing a patient’s liability, linking patients to available funding sources or determining whether they are eligible for charity care or financial hardship treatment.

For patient financial services counselors, the post-contact follow-up represents a key step in assuring that your patients understand their financial responsibilities. A few things to remember:

  • Patients requesting payment plans or financial hardship assistance are identified as early as possible in the registration/admission process.
  • Patient Financial Counselors will have maximum effectiveness when they reach out to the patient first.
  • Collection of money, though the top priority, does not mean non-collection has resulted in a poor call with the patient.
  • Educating our patient about their fiscal responsibility is essential to the process.

Educating your patients in the costs associated with their hospital stay is important to the overall process of collecting co-pays and balances in full where possible. In fact, it will make the entire payment process much smoother and may ease patient anxiety, which we know is an important consideration in patient care. Surveys consistently indicate that over 60 percent of patients ranked their number one concern as knowing what a procedure will cost them.

The registration team will handle the fiscal aspects discussed and collect any dollars expected at admission or discuss financial arrangements agreed upon through the contact the patient had with the Financial Counselor.

Any healthcare provider who spends the time and resources establishing a thorough pre-registration program will find that by the time the patient shows up to register for their appointment they are prepared from a financial standpoint.

Chuck Seviour  is vice president of revenue cycle for Array Services Group. Chuck has over 40 years of healthcare industry experience ranging from director of business office operations for a large health system to consulting with more than 150 hospitals as a healthcare consultant for a major accounting firm. 

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