Part of managing accounts receivable at a medical facility is maintaining rapport with patients. It’s always a priority to close the revenue cycle, but there may be situations in which this becomes difficult. In these cases, ensuring patient satisfaction becomes more difficult in its turn. Add in that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) requires that businesses maintain compliance in a number of areas, collecting due payment becomes a more complicated situation. Here are a few ways your medical institution can ensure accounts receivable partners are remaining compliant with the CFPB without estranging already stressed-out patients.
The CFPB particularly monitors the collection of bad debt, and many of the issues noted below become irrelevant if hospitals are able to prevent bad debt by ensuring patients understand their financial responsibilities and make timely payments. If you need help closing the revenue cycle in a timely manner, reach out to a potential partner like HCM, and you can avoid the following problems.
CFPB Violations & Financial Laws
Ultimately, the CFPB is intended to keep consumers safe, but it also exists to help businesses make sure they aren’t breaking financial laws. If you’re using a third-party vendor or partner to help you collect on accounts receivable, it’s vital that you—as the medical provider—know and understand the issues of compliance.
Common Compliance Issues
A recent publication from the CFPB called Supervisory Highlights lists a number of issues that are common among accounts receivable partners. Some of these issues include:
- False threats of litigation.
- Prohibited convenience fees for the use of certain payment methods.
- Failure to comply with the Electronic Fund Transfer Act for electronic payments.
- Failure to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
These are only a few of the notes from Supervisory Highlights. Many of these situations are created due to poor training—and a general lack of knowledge—on the part of the vendor’s employees. Thus, it’s important that when choosing a vendor to help you close your revenue cycle that you closely evaluate their screening, hiring, and training processes. Any employees who are rushed prematurely into a position can cause issues simply due to a misunderstanding of what they are—and are not—allowed to say or do.
Most commonly, if a vendor or third-party isn’t complying with the CFPB’s guidelines, they will require that the employee(s) undergo further training to prevent the issue from occurring again. In other cases, they will demand that certain specifications be met or make amends for their actions in some way. It’s important to remember, though, that some of these cases may mean that financial law has been broken, and the backlash may not simply fall against the vendor.
Day to day, when you’re simply closing the revenue cycle with a typical patient, these issues aren’t common. However, if payment issues do arise or there are misunderstandings, payment situations can get complicated and heated quickly. You want to be sure a well-trained associate is on your side. Understanding the CFPB’s compliance regulations will help you make a better decision when choosing your accounts receivable partner.