Successful Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) not only benefits Surgery Center’s financial performance, but also translates to higher patient satisfaction. From billing processes to financial counseling and customer service, as a provider of Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) RCM it is critical to balance delivering exceptional patient care while performing the necessary functions of the surgery center. Winning and building loyalty through effective RCM hinges on three things:
- Providing Patient Financial Counseling & Out-of-Network Strategy
Before prepping patients for surgery, it is important to first provide financial counseling and prepare patients for associated financial responsibilities, including the billing process and required payments. Since most surgeries are elective, patients report higher satisfaction when they know the cost of the surgery upfront, understand their benefits, including whether the surgery is in- or out-of-network, and determine the steps to establish a payment plan, if needed. Helping patients understand deductibles as well as out-of-pocket costs takes time, but the payoff for centers is significant and can result in not only higher patient satisfaction, but also higher patient retention, particularly when a patient requires additional surgery.
- Billing Processes
A center’s billing process is directly linked to patient satisfaction – both positively and negatively. Accurate coding is key to success, as inaccurate coding may disclose misinformation and potentially undermine confidence in the billing process. Another key to satisfaction is sending regular billing statements on the date of patient responsibility, not from the date the patient was seen. Typically, there is a 30-day period between when the patient was seen, and when their statement is sent, allowing insurance companies to pay their balance first. If the system is not set up correctly, a patient’s statement will already reflect 30 days in arrears. For centers to garner high satisfaction from patients, they must have a successful patient billing process.
- Delivering Exceptional Customer Service
For current and future patients, delivering a high level of customer service is paramount. Delivering excellent customer service begins by speaking with patients in a courteous and professional manner while guiding them through the billing process, financial counseling, and also speaking to patients directly prior to sending notice regarding collections. It may also include helping patients understand their primary and secondary insurance, or appealing on behalf of a patient to help them receive a letter of medical necessity. Financial conversations can be challenging, but personnel who take a consultative approach can earn good will and future loyalty for your center.
A successful RCM strategy can be a differentiator for centers. By taking a measured approach and proactively addressing patient financing, out-of-network strategies, billing processes, and customer service, centers will drive volume through higher retention and satisfaction.