Ambulatory Surgery Centers: 3 Tips for Patient Collections
Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) focus on providing same-day surgical care, including diagnostic and preventative procedures; these facilities perform surgeries that do not require overnight hospital care. However, ambulatory wellness services aren’t limited to surgery; they offer chemotherapy, substance abuse therapy, and other forms of outpatient therapy.
ASC financial health depends on compensation from insurance and the patient, but collecting these payments isn’t always easy. Just like hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers cover similar costs and need a reasonable return to thrive. Although hospitals and hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) struggle with timely payments, ASCs lag farther behind. Check out the following 3 ways to improve your patient collections:
Ambulatory Surgery Centers: 3 Ways to Better Patient Collections
1. Get On The Same Page
Ensure your team is on the same page by establishing your financial policies and procedures in a defined collections policy — from pre-authorization to post-procedure payment plans. Your administration should consider a written patient financial policy, a payment process that considers various deductibles, guidelines, minimum payments, payment plans, and payment options.
Make sure that rules are clear, and that staff has the tools they need for collection; however, recognize that not all staff are professionally trained to ask for money. Team training can teach your staff how to professionally collect payments, thoroughly understand the policy, and encourage staff to take action. Your presence and supervision could inspire staff to achieve policy standards.
2. Include Patients
Educate patients about their financial responsibilities. Ensure that lines of communication are open and that patients know when, where, and how to contact you. Communication will invite questions and conversations concerning the process. Patients have the right to be fully informed of their financial responsibility in order to plan their payments accordingly. With knowledge of collections comes patient power and responsibility. Provide resources such as informative guides and contact information; financial counselors are powerful tools.
3. Offer Patient-Financial Therapy
Patient financial counselors might be like therapists — someone patients can talk to regarding payment problems and can work with toward finding resolutions. Financial counselors aid patient awareness of policy and hold patients accountable. Patient financial counselors need to be aware of the ASC’s policies and any payment options available to the patient, including accepted forms of payment. Through thorough pre-authorization, patient financial counselors can seamlessly guide the patient through the payment process.
After confirmation of insurance coverage, the counselor should contact the patient one week before the procedure to communicate the amount owed and provide an opportunity to ask questions, according to Becker’s ASC Review. Counselors inform the patient of how much is due and by what deadline; commonly, the full amount will be due on the day of the procedure. If patients can’t pay, counselors can refer them to the business office as prospects for payment plan options review. Patients will complete their financial responsibilities, paperwork, and the promissory note alongside the counselor, who guides them through the payment process.
ClearGage can become your financial counselor and partner. We can help bridge the gap between ambulatory surgery centers and your patients to increase patient collections.