How Mosaic Life Care simultaneously improved patient experience and collections

As patient expectations for healthcare billing increasingly resemble consumer expectations found in industries such as retail, hospital leaders need to reassess long-held perceptions about how to collect payments from patients.

This was the consensus reached by industry thought leaders during a Sept. 12 webinar, hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Simplee. The featured participants were:

- Deborah Vancleave, vice president of revenue cycle at Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph, Mo.
- Cristie Skeen, director of revenue cycle management at Mosaic Life Care
- Mike D'Amelio, vice president of marketing at Simplee 

Health systems should embrace this changing expectation as an opportunity, the leaders said. One health system that is prioritizing innovations in patient payment is Mosaic Life Care.

Mosaic found their patients' financial experience didn't mirror the excellent clinical care its providers delivered. To resolve this issue, the health system underwent a massive revenue cycle overhaul in 2017 in partnership with Simplee. The overhaul focused on patients' demand for self-service payments and friendly billing platforms.

"We were always good on quality, but knew there was an opportunity for improvement in our revenue cycle," Ms. Vancleave said. "We developed a five-year plan focused on improving patient financial experience. It included shoring up processes, structural reorganization, investing in technology and monitoring patient financial experience."

Prior to the health system's revenue cycle overhaul, Mosaic had a static patient portal that was unintuitive for its majority Medicare population. By transitioning to Simplee's user-friendly portal, Mosaic met patients where they're actually paying bills: on computers and phones. After its revenue cycle overhaul, Mosaic found 40 percent of its online payments were coming from desktop computers, while the majority — 60 percent — were coming from mobile devices. At that measure, Mosaic's rate of mobile payments was more than twice that of ecommerce companies. 

"Paper statements have become a thing of the past at Mosaic," Ms. Skeen said. Since launching the new portal, Mosaic has seen 81 percent of its online collections come from self-service payments. Mosaic has thus reduced its bank fees as the number of paper checks dwindles and drives down the cost to collect.

"This is a drastic improvement," Ms. Vancleave said. "When we looked at our prior system, we were collecting in the 90 percentile range of paper checks via paper statements, and maybe only 10 to 13 percent were online activity. Our collection rate for pure self-pay was 5 percent — I mean, really dismal. So these new statistics are just staggering."

As a result of a high adoption of self-service online payments, Mosaic has witnessed its staff-assisted payments drop 38 percent year over year. The decrease has allowed Mosaic to reallocate staff higher up the revenue cycle to assist patients with preservice financial planning.

Ultimately, Mosaic has significantly improved its cash position for self-pay, including pure self-pay and balance after insurance, Ms. Vancleave said. The system's days to payment has dropped from between 45 and 50 to just seven days with Simplee.

The ease of self-service payments has not only helped Mosaic fiscally. The health system's patients have reported improved satisfaction. Mosaic's Net Promoter Score, a measure of consumer loyalty, is 32, higher than retailer Nordstrom.

The reason, according to Mr. D'Amelio, is that Mosaic no longer views clinical care as the only thing needed to be an excellent provider, recognizing the value of a great financial experience, too.

"Financial care is sometimes this outlier and overlooked compared to clinical care. But if you think about it from the patient's point of view, it's the first and last touch — your first impression and last impression. They're really inseparable. Clinical care and financial care together is patient care," Mr. D'Amelio said.

To view the webinar, click here.

To learn more about Simplee, click here.

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