By Patrick Creagh, Marketing Specialist
2015 is an exciting time to be working in the healthcare industry and for the healthcare CFO, challenges and opportunities abound. The topic of healthcare costs has been unceremoniously thrust into the national spotlight following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Now, everyone must adapt to survive, and those who proactively strengthen their strategy will thrive. Here are our top three trends that financial leaders must account for this year:
We’ve known for a while now that the number of patients with high deductible health plans (HDHP) was going to increase, but 2015 will be the year that healthcare providers begin to significantly feel the impacts of this shift. Combine that with the influx of patients with plans from the ACA exchanges that typically have high deductibles, CFOs will need to revisit their patient payment strategies to manage the increased patient A/R.
The result of higher out-of-pocket costs will inevitably lead to patients shopping for care whenever possible. Expect to see more tools available for patients to get estimates and negotiate bills before their care. As a result, your retention rates will suffer if you don’t deliver quality customer service in addition to quality care. The costs are simply too large and the choices too many, except in emergency or critical decisions. Even then, patients will be scanning your bills for errors, negotiating payment terms, or even hire a professional advocate under the most extreme circumstances.
Additionally, expect to start seeing some financial-based questions added to patient satisfaction surveys to begin to quantify the impact of a patient’s financial experience on their overall care experience.
As consumerism changes the way healthcare is delivered, managing patient A/R will no longer be an afterthought. Thankfully, improvements in payments technology enable providers to see how, when, and why patients pay their bills. Armed with this information, savvy financial leaders can staff their billing offices appropriately, offer patients convenience of multiple payment options without creating extra work, and deliver higher patient satisfaction where it is needed most.
While America continues the perpetual healthcare debate, we know that healthcare costs aren’t going anywhere, and they will likely continue to increase for the patient. Therefore, take advantage of automated patient payment technology to “do more with less” and shift to a better financial position to thrive in these uncertain times.