RCM tip of the day: Educate staff, patients to aid point-of-service collections

Hospitals continue to seek increased point-of-service collections but face various challenges, such as high-deductible health plans that leave patients with greater financial obligations. One way to achieve a successful point-of-service collections program is by educating staff and patients, according to Rebecca Haymaker, director of Epic services at Parallon Technology Solutions.

She said it is crucial that frontline employees clearly understand expectations for collections; that staff are trained on processing balances and payments; and that employees know how to effectively seek payments and handle objections. 

"At a large academic medical center, we were able to increase monthly POS collections from $1.4 million to $3.3 million in six months through the launch of a 'Compassionate Collections' class. Using a scenario-based curriculum, we taught employees how to have the conversation with patients in a respectful manner. We found gaps in training for staff not reporting directly to the revenue cycle. We were training how to post payments in the EHR and not teaching how to ask for payment. They are two different things entirely," she told Becker's Hospital Review.

Ms. Haymaker recommended combining internal training  with patient education to increase front-end collections. 

"Leadership can work collaboratively with marketing, customer service and patient access to develop patient education tools that explain insurance terms, set clear payment expectations and offer assistance," she said. "Clear communication and consistency across the organization will not only reinforce expectations with patients, it can change the payment culture for the better."

If you would like to share your RCM best practices, please email Kelly Gooch at kgooch@beckershealthcare.com to be featured in the "RCM tip of the day" series. 


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