Optimizing Self-Pay Collections- Resolution with Respect: Now More Than Ever

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to create tremendous disruptions across all industries, especially health care. Health care providers remain on the front lines of response efforts, while health care facilities suffer from the associated financial drain. This drain is most acute in revenue cycle management, particularly self-pay collections. As a result, providers are placed at even more risk during the pandemic.

In normal times, hospitals struggle to reduce costs and to increase revenue, and self-pay patient accounts are no exception. In fact, the risks associated with self-pay accounts present a unique set of challenges. For example, the cost to collect these accounts is up to three times higher than on commercial accounts, and the longer a self-pay balance goes unpaid, the lower the probability it will be collected.

Now, with the onset of the pandemic, there is even more uncertainty and sensitivity connected with the self-pay process. Fortunately, RTR Financial Services (RTR) is well positioned to adjust to this new normal.

 At RTR, our associates specialize and take great pride in standing by our corporate mission: Resolution with Respect. Now, more than ever, there must be a deeply human touch rooted in empathy and compassion when dealing with self-pay collections. So much so, that RTR’s management team have been certified by the American Collection Agency as “ Certified Self-Pay Instructors,” which allows our dedicated staff to educate self-pay best collection practices throughout the United States.

What we have seen is individuals are postponing non-emergency care for a variety of reasons, from concerns about clinic visits to an inability to pay. The result of delaying elective procedures is an immediate drop in revenue. This financial hit is made worse from the steep climb in the number of Americans who are currently unemployed. Millions remain without jobs or a steady paycheck putting health systems at risk of even more significant long-term financial challenges.

  As more patients are unable to pay, accounts receivables (AR) days go up, cash flow decreases, bad debt piles up and revenue shortfalls are almost certain. This adds extra emotional challenges to what can be an overwhelming experience. Added together, these factors threaten the long-term financial security of hospitals and health systems.

Therefore, revenue cycles stand the chance of becoming underfunded both now and the foreseeable future. It is essential to wisely address self-pay collections and to do so by understanding the unique relationship that exists between a patient and health facility.

By emphasizing Resolution with Respect, our associates can resolve matters and unpaid debts in a way that maintains a healthy partnership between our customers (health facilities) and their patients.

We offer and compassionate approach to individuals who might be nervous, frightened, angry or scared.

Our associates build a rapport with patients to develop a trust. They answer questions and provide counseling to patients regarding their payment options, often developing payment plans to allow them to pay their balances over time. Not only does this tend to ease patients’ anxiety, but also increases their likelihood to pay.

RTR is constantly “thinking outside the box” to help our clients do what they do best: Treat patients and save lives.

There are easy access to payment processing at every point of service, a thorough explanation of their insurance coverage, an efficient process supervised with professionals who have decades of experience in dealing with all types of situations.

Finally, calls are monitored continuously and recorded always for review and quality control. There is regular follow-up to patients to manage their questions and, when necessary, their concerns.

In normal times self-pay collections are challenging enough and can create significant points of friction for health facilities. However, during this COVID-19 pandemic and for months, if not years to come, we can expect even greater challenges.

As healthcare costs rise, we can expect to see these factors become even more problematic. In fact, it is not unusual for patients to have annual deductibles anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000- not insignificant and potentially burdensome to the patient.

RTR is well aware of all the challenges before us. We have helped some of the most prestigious health care facilities in the United States handle their self-pay collections with dignity, respect, success and zero complaints. It may be a new day, new time and a new normal. Regardless, RTR will handle and resolve all self-pay accounts in the same way. In short, we will perform Resolution with Respect.