Worker enrollment in high deductible health plans has been steadily increasing from 20 percent in 2013 to 30 percent in 2017, according to a survey by KFF on employer health benefits. Patient responsibility is a critical part of the bottom line for ambulatory care practices with these accounts, but your current billing solution may not be well-suited to this scenario. NextGen EPM offers several innovative features and partnerships that support the growth in patient responsibility. Medfusion, which is now part of NextGen Healthcare, empowers practices with streamlined and automated billing and collection solutions. A partnership with Availity brings in robust pre-collection functionality and is particularly helpful for working with patients with high deductible health plans. Here are five of the benefits that NextGen EPM can bring to your practice’s bottom line.
Improving Pre-service NextGen Patient Collection and Reporting
Patients who are responsible for higher portions of their healthcare costs want to be adequately informed prior to receiving care. If they don’t know how much they have to pay prior to going to their appointment, then they might end up in a situation where they can’t cover the cost of care. Your staff will also run into problems with payment collection if they don’t have the right information on the patient’s copayments, deductibles, coinsurance, and other factors influencing the price.
Availity transforms the pre-service process in several ways. It’s capable of automatically reviewing key information and providing real-time data on the patient’s responsibility. Its integration with NextGen EPM allows for a seamless estimation of services that gives patients a reasonable expectation of the incurred cost. They will know the estimated cost of their service ahead of time and not deal with sticker shock. This assists with the patient payment collection process going more smoothly.
Removing Barriers to Care and Quality Outcomes
Your patient’s financial situation may not allow for medical cost uncertainty. Waiting around for reimbursement from their insurance provider could represent a significant financial hardship. When they are equipped with a cost estimate ahead of time, they can budget for that expense. Some patients may also have incorrect assumptions about how much a service costs. It could end up being much more accessible to them than they expected. They get the care and quality outcomes they need with financial transparency.
Since these costs become predictable, you end up with patients who will come to their follow-up appointments and better adhere to their treatment plans. They receive the best possible outcome, which also helps them avoid more severe complications in the future.
Streamlining the NextGen Patient Collection Process
How easy is the payment collection process for patients and staff? The Medfusion features in NextGen EPM offer significant flexibility and process improvements in how you receive payment from your patients. Online payment that’s integrated with your NextGen Patient Portal provides an all-in-one location for the patient’s medical information. It’s convenient and seamless.
Another online payment option to consider is guest payment, which does not require a login. Friends and family members that want to help with healthcare costs, as well as people who frequently lose their Patient Portal login information, can use the guest functionality to cover their bills. You can also keep a card on file for automatic payments, which are commonly used as part of budget billing plans that spread out the cost of care in a way that’s more manageable for the patient.
A card swiper for pre or post-service payments makes it a built-in part of the NextGen EPM check-in or check-out process. Some practices have these card readers built into registration tablets and other devices to make it even easier. Every time you add-in a convenient method for paying medical bills, you’re removing one more barrier that stands in the way of your practice collecting payment upfront. When you can settle the bill before or immediately after service, you don’t have to allocate staff resources to collection. However, NextGen EPM does have a few ways that it helps in that area.
Reducing the Resource Commitment for Payment Collection
Inefficiencies in the payment and collection process consume staff time that could be better spent elsewhere. You don’t want to have a negative impact on your bottom line because it’s difficult to collect the right amounts from patients. You also don’t want NextGen credit balances and refunds because your front desk collected the wrong amounts. Deep integration with your revenue cycle management team and practice management solution results in a centralized source of collection activity. Your staff can easily print out patient statements, check for payment history, provide cost estimates, and look up claim statuses. This system can also verify essential information to reduce the chances that claims get denied.
Creating a Quality Patient and Front Office Experience
Medical billing is a point of contention for many patients, and its complexity can also have a negative impact on your staff members. When you make payment collection an efficient and patient-friendly experience, it removes a lot of frustration potential. You end up with patients who feel respected and valued from pre to post-service, and staff who are happier and more engaged with their jobs.
Configuring NextGen patient collection plans for your ambulatory practice requires extensive expertise. NextGen EPM has a powerful amount of configuration that can lead to highly productive payment collection, but you need the right team to help you choose the right product for your practice’s needs. TempDev specializes in NextGen EPM consulting and we’re happy to help you implement the best solution to improve your bottom line. Contact us here or at 888.TEMP.DEV to begin discussing the next steps to improving your patient collections.