upfront financial counseling advisor

Common Myth Related to ASCs: Upfront Financial Counseling & Collections Lack Physician Support

There are misunderstandings and outdated beliefs related to ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) upfront financial counseling collections. Our first blog in this 3-part series disproved the myth that “advance collections won’t work”. In the 2nd post of our series, we focus on the myth that upfront financial counseling & collections lack physician support.

Myth: Physicians feel protective toward their patients and find it crass to talk about money before providing quality care … so they won’t support advance collections.

Reality: Physicians understand that all healthcare providers in today’s marketplace must embrace good business practices in order to stay solvent and continue to provide quality care. Palos Surgicenter adopted a new policy in February 2019 requiring payment in full prior to surgery, supporting it with a program of upfront patient financial counseling. Mary McGill, Business Office Manager at Palos Surgicenter, says physicians have been very supportive of the new approach.

“Our doctors’ offices are overwhelmingly supportive. They’re facing some of the same financial challenges themselves, so they’re aware of why it’s important.”

Palos Surgicenter made a concerted effort to educate both center staff and physicians’ offices in advance of the change upfront financial counseling collections. They sent letters to their doctors, business office managers, and schedulers explaining the new policy and approach. “Our communication and transparency were key to our success with the new policy” said McGill. Education and preparation allowed physicians and their office to feel comfortable with the payment changes.

To learn more, click here to download our full white paper, or contact Leslie Favela at lfavela@regentrcm.com.

Doctor smiling - three myths whitepaper

New Whitepaper Debunks Three Myths about Upfront Patient Financial Counseling and Collections

To combat climbing health insurance deductibles and co-pays that push a larger portion of the cost of surgery from insurers to patients increasing collections risk, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) have responded with more robust financial pre-registration processes to maintain efficiency and profitability. A new whitepaper offers insights into this trend, while separating myth from reality regarding implementation.

Regent RCM’s Erin Petrie, Director of Revenue Cycle Management, says while there was resistance in the marketplace to upfront patient financial counseling and collections just a few years ago, the practice is rapidly gaining acceptance today. More than 90% of patients want to know their payment responsibility prior to a provider visit or scheduled procedure.

“In response to the trend, we’re making sure to include in our financial planning process an upfront review of the patient’s benefits,” she says. “Taking this step helps ensure transparency about out-of-pocket expense, so costs can be estimated, explained, and ideally, collected in advance of services being rendered. It makes patients more comfortable about their financial commitment and reduces our risk on the backend.”

Regent RCM, a leading provider of innovative and cost-effective revenue cycle management services exclusively for ASCs, is working with leading ASCs to put programs in place that operationalize upfront patient financial counseling and collections, and to dispel outdated myths that keep centers from benefiting from these proactive processes. The new whitepaper, available for free download here, addresses three common myths:

  • Myth #1: Advance collections won’t work.
    Reality: It’s happening. And it’s helping.

  • Myth #2: The practice lacks physician support.
    Reality:
    Physicians understand that healthcare providers must embrace good business practices in order to stay solvent and continue to provide quality care.

  • Myth #3: Attempting advance collections might prompt surgery cancellations.
    Reality: Patients appreciate transparency around what charges they’ll be accountable for and understand that high deductibles are the new norm.

The white paper offers proof that payment only after services are delivered is an outdated mindset in healthcare, citing the advance collections experiences of two leading ASCs, Glasgow Medical Center in Newark, Delaware, and Palos Surgicenter in Palos Heights, Illinois. The paper also offers four suggestions for ASC leaders interested in implementing advance collections.

To learn more about Regent RCM’s work with ASCs to implement upfront patient financial counseling and collections, contact Favela at lfavela@regentrcm.com.