Friday, November 27, 2015

How Hospitals Can Diminish Their Bad Debt

While all kinds of businesses have to deal with bad debt, hospitals struggle with this problem more than many. In fact, the American Hospital Association estimates that several years ago uncompensated care costs reached a staggering $49 billion!

Unfortunately, there’s no one clear thing to blame for this bad debt. If there was, it would be a much easier problem to solve. Unfortunately, though, the factors that contribute to bad debt for hospitals are many. One of the major causes, however, is the fact that so many Americans remain uninsured in spite of the Affordable Care Act. And, even those who have gotten qualified under the act contribute to the problem by typically having policies with high deductibles.   

Obviously, most hospitals are spending more than they’re actually taking in, and to make matters worse, there’s only so much hospitals are allowed to do when it comes to collecting on the money they are owed.

Fortunately, though, there have been some positive changes in recent years, thanks in large part to the expanded coverage now offered through the Affordable Care Act. To see continued improvements, hospitals are also asked to step up their collection efforts, while still operating within the bounds of the law.

To make easier, legal, more effective debt collecting possible, hospitals should fully train their billing and hospital collections workers, instructing them to be sympathetic and understanding, so as not to hurt the hospital’s relationship with clients, but also to work hard to try and collect the funds which they are owed.

Credit scoring is another practice hospitals are encouraged to engage.  Through this process, patients can be divided into groups based on their ability to pay and/or their payment track records and then debt collectors can devote their time to securing funds from those clients most likely to pay, which will generally lead to more successful collection efforts. There are also modern software programs and apps that can help with categorizing clients and with the collection process as a whole, and hospitals should take full advantage of the resources available to them.

If hospitals can follow the tips discussed here and really step up their collection methods they can and should see a big improvement from their collections efforts.  #hospitalcollections

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