Patients Are the New Payers

Jonathan Wiik, head of revenue cycle management solutions at TransUnion Healthcare, speaks with Health Exec about increasing patient engagement when it comes to payment as out-of-pocket costs and deductibles for their medical care.

Wilk’s research finds that 68 percent of patients with a bill of $500 or less either couldn’t pay it or didn’t pay it.

“The American Hospital Association runs a report every year on uncompensated care. Right now, it’s $34.7 billion dollars,” according to Wilk.

So how can hospitals get patients to pay their bills? Wilk sees three things that can be done:

  1. They need to educate their patients to the cost of their care.
  2. They need to act upon that information once they have it and have a financial conversation with the patient, and;
  3. They need to enable their staff to have a passionate, collaborative and competent conversation with the patient.

But Wilks notes right now, “most conversations don’t happen. It’s an envelope in the mail, three months later, and most patients when they get it, they’re like ‘What is this? How come no one talked to me?'”

He points out, “That’s exactly what a hospital needs to prevent from happening by pulling that process as early as they can into the revenue cycle and just have financial conservations at every step they can. ‘Hey, we ran your insurance, you have a $500 deductible, we think it’s going to be about $300, can you afford that? If you can’t, let’s try to find some other financing options.'”