Editor’s Note: This article is the first in a two-part series by Chuck Seviour.

Chuck Seviour, Array Services Group

Chuck Seviour,
Array Services Group

The greatest challenge to implementing or increasing point-of-service (POS) collections is not the getting the patients to accept it. Any healthcare provider worth their salt already knows how to ask patients for money with compassion, dignity, and respect.

The biggest challenge to the success of any POS program comes from within. And before you consider starting any POS-related project, you must lay the groundwork within your own organization.  Embedding POS into your workflow requires conscious and enthusiastic cooperation from multiple levels within your provider organization, from top to bottom, and between departments.

POS means that for the good of the organization, people’s jobs will change, and that change must be carefully considered and managed. Here are some of the areas affected when implementing a successful POS project:

Prior Authorization/Pre-Certification Team: Not only will these associates assure approval of the procedure, but they will also review the benefits to date and review the cost for procedures. This will provide information about approximate out-of-pocket costs for the Financial Counselors.

Financial Counselors: They will contact the patient, prior to date of service. They will discuss the options regarding payment of services, prior to the patient receiving the services.

Registration: This team will be responsible for capturing accurate demographic information. They will review Financial Counselor notes to determine patient fiscal responsibility at the time of service.

Nursing: Ideally your nursing team will support this program with specific POS activities, such as coordinating with the Financial Counselor, when appropriate.

To achieve the coordination between departments necessary means one thing: You have to start at the top.

Senior management support is a direct result of creating an atmosphere of understanding for all senior managers, department heads and medical staff. Any diversion of the intended plan can be up-ended if you have not done an excellent job covering all the aspects of the program.Senior management must agree, approve, and appreciate the results that this program will accomplish for the bottom line of the facility. When presenting a request for a POS initiative, it is critical to communicate the following to gain senior management buy-in:
  1. The plan to enhance the bottom line of the facility;
  2. The investment to make improvements in areas of the facility and training for the staff;
  3. The emphasis to be placed on “customer sensitive interaction”;
  4. The complete adherence to the mission and core values of the organization;
  5. The thorough understanding that all interactions with the patient will be done with dignity, respect and compassion;
  6. The training that will insure the team is effective;
  7. The documented policies and procedures;
  8. The scheduled meetings periodically to update senior management on progress;
  9. The specific liaison between the team responsible for the re-organization and senior management;
  10. The comprehensive involvement with medical staff to ensure they lend their support and understand the patient benefits.

Education for senior management must be well planned and easy to understand. Top-down support will result in a successful program that enhances the patient understanding of their fiscal responsibility to the facility, while at the same time improving the bottom line to the facility.

Next: Winning the hearts and minds of your colleagues.

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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