It never used to be a big problem, but hospitals and other medical offices now have to worry about whether patients will be paying their debts. Formerly, insurance companies took care of most of this, but as co-pays have gotten higher, so has the payment collections burden hospitals have had to taken on. Record Net said one hospital is thinking about using a private collection agency to collect the $381 million in bad debt from patients, but healthcare organizations and other companies should consider investing in debt collections software to make sure they are staying on top of what they are owed instead of letting it build up.
“These are bills racked up by people who could pay them, officials said,” according to the news source. “The hospital does provide healthcare to those who can’t afford to pay for it. But those aren’t the hospital’s only patients, which includes people who have insurance or money to pay their bills.”
The chief financial officer of the hospital said the bills are sitting in accounts receivable gathering dust. They are considering putting the money out to bid to a collections company, but they still have yet to work out that detail in full.
Healthcare Finance News said healthcare organizations must realize what the times are and communicate with patients as much as possible. One healthcare professional in Chicago said she believes this communication is the missing piece.
“It seems that some hospitals still use the traditional approach of sending out a billing statement right away to a patient,” this healthcare pro said. “The patient often has no idea what their statement means because it’s just a summary of what he or she owes and they are usually blown away by the price they see. There’s no communication and that’s one of the missing pieces in the whole equation. Collections, in and of itself, are a very volatile and emotional thing. Coming from a hospital, it takes it makes it that much worse - it’s very sensitive.”
Collections software may be a helpful way to communicate payment information via email and lessen the blow of the bill to patients.