While patient statements are an essential part of the patient payments process, statements can significantly add to the administrative time and costs to collect. When considering administrative improvements, Good Samaritan Hospital realized that many of its inefficiencies existed in the patient statements process. Below is an outline of how Good Samaritan identified issues in its patient statements process and improved these areas by applying statement best practices. As a result, Good Samaritan significantly reduced its costs to collect patient payments and started to receive payments faster.
Problem: No statement delivery assurance
Good Samaritan Hospital received frequent complaints from patients who were sent to a collection company for nonpayment without receiving an initial statement. This issue was caused by a technical glitch in the statement file managed by the hospital’s statement vendor, and the hospital received no notification of the error until patients called in to complain.
Best Practice: Require communications
The hospital began to require proactive notifications of statement delivery or delivery errors so hospital staff can address issues more quickly and have more visibility into when statements were delivered to patients.
Problem: High volume of patient statement inquiries
When patients received statements, they often had questions about what they owed, which led to a high volume of patient phone calls for Good Samaritan to manage.
Best Practice: Easy-to-read statement layout
Based on the feedback received from patients, Good Samaritan redesigned its statements to clearly display the information patients need to know – how much they owe and when the payment is due. Today, hospital staff members spend much less time on the phone answering patient inquiries about their statements, and they have even received positive feedback on the new statement design.
Problem: Confusion around making payments
Good Samaritan’s statements lacked clear instructions on how to make a payment, which often drove patients to put off paying their bills because it seemed like a difficult task.
Best Practice: Prominently display payment instructions
As part of the statement layout redesign, Good Samaritan placed the instructions to pay right at the top of the statements and highlighted the URL where patients can pay immediately online. As a result, patients are paying their bills faster, saving the hospital the time and costs to send multiple statements or make follow-up calls to patients.
To read Good Samaritan Hospital’s full story, click here.