There are so many legal distractions facing hospitals today, they can sometimes get in the way of ensuring you’re providing the kind of care that patients deserve. Patients and their lawyers may try to sue for any number of issues, and some have been known to bait representatives trying to collect on bad debt. Fortunately, there are important strategies you can implement to help protect your accounts receivable department from liability.
Implement Social Media Guidelines
As the Millennial generation has grown and entered the work force, social media has become more and more important not only to them, but to the businesses they work for. The many social media platforms can provide numerous opportunities to reach patients that otherwise might fly beneath the radar, and answer feedback that might otherwise never reach your ears.
However, there are plenty of horror stories about social media gone wrong across every industry. For hospitals in particular and anyone dealing with HIPAA regulations and confidentiality, these horror stories can turn serious very quickly.
Educate all of your employees on potential risks associated with social media use, both on behalf of the hospital and on their own accounts. Write out a list of guidelines that includes best practices and expectations. Urge them to be extra careful. Complaining about one particularly bad call on Facebook can come back to bite. Update your guidelines regularly to reflect the ever-changing landscape that is modern social media.
Clarifying a Phone Call
It’s not easy to know who you’re talking to on the phone. When you’re dealing with sensitive information, that lack of knowledge can present a danger.
Your hospital should have a set of best practices to help any accounts receivable representative make sure that they’re speaking either to the patient, or someone who is able to speak on the patient’s behalf. This may mean asking for specific information that only that patient can provide. Don’t think of it as an inconvenience: the patient will be very glad you’re spending the extra time to ensure the safety of their data.
On particularly difficult phone calls, especially those trying to collect on bad debt, tempers can rise and things can get out of hand. The patient may begin yelling, which might prompt a representative to yell back. There are hundreds of stories about representatives making false claims about liens against homes and other false information to try to trick or deceive the patient into paying in a timelier manner.
This is a surefire way to find yourself with a letter from a lawyer. It’s very important that all of your employees, or anyone who makes calls on your behalf, knows to keep a cool head and understands that the best way to communicate is to state facts. Any false claims will cause issues.
This also highlights the need to efficiently close the revenue cycle, before allowing debt to become bad in the first place. Too many issues only arise after debt has remained uncollected for too long.
Interested in learning more about how your hospital can close accounts receivable in a timely manner? Contact HCM today to learn how we can help.