Most non-urgent medical services can be scheduled 2-3 days in advance. Those extra hours create an enormous opportunity to improve patient experience and insure payment for services. Here are 15 great reasons why health system executives should invest further in pre-service technology, process and service:
1. Patients don’t like to wait. Patients who are scheduled and pre-registered can be fast-tracked on arrival, reducing their time spent waiting and registering.
2. Patients want to know what to expect. Thorough pre-registration includes communicating to patients what to bring, where to go, and what will happen upon arrival.
3. Patients want to know what it’s going to cost. By scheduling and pre-registering 2-3 days in advance, providers can verify insurance, estimate and communicate patient financial liabilities prior to service, and eliminate surprise bills in the mail weeks after service.
4. Patients want payment options. Offer multiple ways for patients to pay, including online payment portals accessible through the hospital’s website or the patient’s mobile device. Patients also want flexible payment terms, discount options and loan programs.
5. Increase patient collections. There is no better time to communicate and collect patient liabilities than pre-registration. Patients are 3 times more likely to pay co-pays and deductibles before scheduled services than after service. With patient payments now covering 30% to 40% of net patient service revenue, providers must take advantage of this pre-service opportunity.
6. Decrease no-shows. Patients who are pre-registered and pay their liability are more likely to show up for their procedure.
7. Predictably screen for financial assistance. Screening for charity, discounts, payment plans and other forms of financial assistance is best done prior to service, exceeding the screening requirements of the new 501r Medical Debt Rule. Reliable presumptive charity provides financial benefits to patients and to hospitals.
8. Front-end account resolution. Pre-registration creates the optimal time and opportunity to discuss prior patient balances and resolve aging accounts receivable with full payment, consolidation payment plans or other financial assistance options. Every past due account resolved by pre-service staff reduces bad debt and collection agency costs.
9. Lower payment risk and cost to collect. Pre-service revenue is not only earlier, it’s cheaper. Every dollar collected prior to service is kept by the provider, with no more risk of bad debt or cost to collect it.
10. Increase likelihood of payer reimbursement. There is no better time than scheduling and pre-registration to verify insurance and benefits, obtain prior authorizations and screen for medical necessity.
11. Resource management. Scheduling 90% of non-urgent cases 2 days in advance removes bottlenecks, allows providers to prepare for the services and staff appropriately for expected volumes.
12. Improve staff productivity. As patient arrival times become predictable, throughput and productivity is better achieved without sacrificing quality of care.
13. Physician satisfaction. Second only to happy patients, physicians appreciate fewer call-backs from hospitals upon patient arrival to verify demographic or insurance information, obtain authorizations or deal with medical necessity failures.
14. Increased patient volume. Patients with positive experiences are more likely to return and recommend a facility to friends and family. Physicians are more likely to refer patients to facilities who provide thorough pre-registration and make it easy to do business with them.
15. Affordable technology and services. Today’s saas-based ordering, scheduling, pre-registration and call center technology reduces time-consuming manual processes into exceptions for staff to resolve, creating the efficiencies needed for affordable pre-registration. Health systems can also extend pre-registration capacity by outsourcing to service centers specializing in pre-registration.
Health system executives searching for the greatest leverage point to improve revenue cycle performance should assess current pre-registration capabilities using NAHAM’s Pre-Registration Tasks and Tiers.
AccuReg provides health systems with pre-registration services that include electronic physician orders, pre-registration workflow, eligibility verification, estimation, payment processing, propensity-based financial assistance screening, medical necessity and prior authorization services. Whether it’s your staff or ours, we can help you achieve Tier 4 Pre-Service success. Finish well by starting out right with AccuReg.