Between 2008 and 2012, multispecialty practices saw their bad debt go up 14 percent according to a recent survey by the Medical Group Management Association. To curb this debt, many providers are now sending patients who don't pay their bills to collection agencies. While on the surface this seems like an efficient solution, it actually creates more of a billing backlog and negatively impacts the patient experience.
West Tennessee Healthcare is an organization that has taken an alternative route and has seen improvement in collect costs by implementing an in-house process through self-pay. The public, not-for-profit, four-hospital health system based in Jackson, TN implemented Mede’s Revenue Cycle and Self-Pay products to optimize cashflow and improve collections by bringing complex patient accounting data into a unified view. During a recent interview with HealthLeaders, Wade Wright, West Tennessee’s director for hospital billing, said:
“One of the biggest factors in this success is the use of analytics to better understand its patients and to target the right collection strategy to each subgroup…We are using data analytics to prioritize and segment our accounts using different criteria. For example, we can do an analysis of our accounts based on ability to pay or propensity to pay, and we have different methods for reaching out to those segments.”
Through its analysis, West Tennessee now knows that 55% of its self-pay patient population is at a low risk of not paying; 25% is at a medium risk; and 5.6% is at a high risk. Data for the remaining 14.4% is unavailable.
Read more about West Tennessee Healthcare’s success and tips for other providers in the HealthLeaders piece by Rene Letourneau.
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