There have been direct correlations found between patient satisfaction and payment, as well as between patient satisfaction and patient education. This triangle comes together to essentially mean this: if patient education isn’t sufficient, patients aren’t satisfied, and that negatively impacts the way they pay their bills. By focusing on patient education—specifically about their financial responsibilities—you can increase patient satisfaction, helping to close the revenue cycle even faster.
Divvying Up Educational Responsibilities
Usually, nurses are responsible for providing education and instructions to patients and their families around discharge. However, while nurses generally provide information to patients about how to take care of themselves after they get home from the hospital, you may not always want them providing the patient with information about their payment responsibilities.
A representative from your accounts receivable department can make a quick visit during discharge to go over any questions or concerns the patient or family may have before they leave the hospital. The undivided attention can allow them to discuss more private and specific questions, leaving them feeling more comfortable knowing what they’re responsible for.
Plan for Follow Ups
Even with a visit during discharge, some patients and families may not retain all of the information. Being in a hospital can be stressful, and depending on their situation upon being discharged, they could be looking at a heavy outcome.
Plan to have accounts receivable reps make follow up phone calls around the time the patients should be receiving their first bills. Walk them through any questions they have. Remember: many patients—especially first timers—won’t have much experience working with insurance or understanding their self-pay responsibilities. When patients have a better understanding of what and why they have to pay, as well as the various ways they’re able to pay, they’re more likely to pay and that will ensure that your revenue cycle gets closed in a timely fashion.
Pre-Emptive Payment Plans
Patients who aren’t familiar with hospitals may not be aware that payment plans and other payment assistance may be available to them. This lack of knowledge makes the first bill all the more intimidating. Always provide patients with all of their alternatives when educating them about paying bills. Not only do you alleviate stress, but you can give the family plenty of time to discuss their situation and find the solution that works best for them.
Of course, this all takes time that your accounts receivable reps could be spending elsewhere. If you’d like to discuss how a strategic partner could help you achieve patient education while closing your revenue cycle quickly, call us today.