Ten Points Your Staff Must Know Before Implementing Point-of-Service Collections

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Chuck Seviour, Array Services Group

Chuck Seviour,
Array Services Group

Editor’s Note: This article is the second in a two-part series about launching point-of-service collections projects by Chuck Seviour. To read the first part, “Ten Points to Winning Support for a Point-of-Service Collections Project,” click here.

In the previous article, you learned the importance of engaging and winning the support of your senior management before embarking on a successful point-of-service (POS) implementation.

While this is a critical first step, it is only a that — a single step. All the senior management support you have will not make this process successful unless you also have employee support and understanding!

Assisting employees with their understanding of why it is essential to begin this new era of POS collections is as important as gaining senior management support and advocacy. Unless employees know what to expect, it will be a long, hard climb.

The following positions and responsibilities are the foundation for a successful endeavor:

Physician Registration Staff. They must present the procedure information and level of immediacy to the appropriate staff to enhance the up-front process, prior to the patient’s appointment.
Schedulers. They must be conscious of the goal set for this initiative at least 48 hours in advance so all appropriate paperwork can be done.
Prior-Auth/Pre-Cert Personnel: They must work closely with the schedulers to insure they receive the paper work for their part of the process. They must expediently acquire appropriate certification and discover the patient’s explanation of benefits and out of pocket costs.
Nursing Team. Depending upon how you design your program the nursing team will coordinate with the Financial Counselor on admit calls and any pre-procedure physicals taking place. This gives the Financial Counselor the opportunity to visit with the patient.
Patient Financial Counselors. They must review the patient file and determine, based on average cost for this procedure, the approximate out of pocket cost for patient. They will then contact the patient and discuss the options approved by this initiative. This should be prior to the patient coming in for the procedure.
Registration. They will review the notes from the Financial Counselor. This will enable them to discuss with the patient the expectations that were set by the Financial Counselor regarding a point-of-service payment.

Understanding how all of these different staff members interact within the overall process will positively affect the overall success of your program. So with that knowledge, how do you gain the cooperation?

You need to clearly communicate the following 10 points to your team:

  1. There is a direct correlation between POS collections and the impact to the bottom line of your facility. The more detail you can employ to quantify this correlation, the easier it will be for your staff to understand it.
  2. Not all uninsured or even insured patients have the ability to pay their medical bill, and knowing that information as early as possible in the engagement will enable staff to better help them.
  3. Over 95 percent of commercial insurance requires some type of co-pay or deductible, and that the ability to collect that payment diminishes by the day.
  4. All interactions with the patient must be handled with compassion, dignity and respect, and POS collections will be no different.
  5. To insure patients will receive that compassion, dignity, and respect, staff will be trained on how to interact with patients, which will also help make staff comfortable having the these discussion.
  6. The POS initiative is an approved objective of senior management
  7. The process will allow for early recognition of patients that may require financial assistance and or community care at some level
  8. Expectations will be defined in a training and procedure manual
  9. Implementing POS will not require additional lines of managment. Team leads will be appointed from among the staff to assist in the training.
  10. Implementing POS will not be one-and-done; there will be regular meetings and follow-ups with your team as training progresses and after the new processes are officially in place

At the same time,you must assure your team that communication is not a one-way street. Your team must have the opportunity to voice their opinion and must feel comfortable asking questions in an open environment.

The goal is to create a perfect patient experience that effectively gives the patient all of the services necessary as they prepare for their visit to the facility. Everyone must work cooperatively toward that same end, which if done properly will increase revenue, reduce costs, and improve the patient experience.

About Chuck Seviour

Chuck has over 40 years of healthcare industry experience ranging from Director of Business Office Operations for a large health system to consulting with more than 150 hospitals for a major accounting firm. Chuck has been Vice President of Revenue Cycle for Array Services Group since 2004.

About Array

Array Services Group and its three innovative business units – CareCall, ProSource and J.C. Christensen & Associates–offer professional services in call management disciplines, accounts receivable and revenue cycle management, empowering clients for immediate and future success.

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Posted in Medical Receivables, Patient Access, Patient Financial Services .

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