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The key to successful collections: 3 Qs with RevSpring's Casey Williams

A tailored approach is the key to a successful billing system, according to Casey Williams, RevSpring's senior vice president of healthcare patient engagement.

Mr. Williams shared three insights with Becker's ASC Review:

Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and style.

Question: What are the key components of a successful patient financial engagement system?

Casey Williams: The most important aspect of patient engagement is whether the communication was understood and did it generate the correct response. Healthcare organizations are just beginning to comprehend the importance of patient financial engagement; but as an industry, we are still struggling to believe there are different responses. Not all patients are going to pay in full on their first statement. We need to stop expecting that this is the only method that works and start communicating with patients at their level and engaging them in terms of what they have the ability to respond to, such as being able to provide full and partial scheduled payments, a payment plan, long-term patient financing or financial assistance.

Q: What's wrong with the way surgery centers and other healthcare providers currently approach billing?

CW: The "one size fits all" approach, which assumes all patients are the same [and] that they are going to respond the same. Healthcare organizations have yet to adopt an individual/patient-centered approach to billing, which means treating all patients as they are (differently) and understanding that not all people comprehend information the same way, not all people utilize the same technology and not all people can pay in the same way. Therefore, how do we, as an industry, respond to a growing demand to create payment options and to understand that within the billing process this ultimately provides better patient financial outcomes?

Q: How have the most effective providers changed their billing and collections processes to meet patients' needs? Could you give any examples?

CW: Successful billing processes acknowledge that every patient touchpoint within the collection/billing process matters — each touchpoint can modify a patient behavior and drive better financial outcomes. Successful healthcare systems focus on how to improve each touchpoint to effectively modify patient behavior, and it ultimately generates the best financial outcome. Healthcare systems are just starting to realize that operating from a platform of intelligence and knowing how a patient is likely to respond prior to creating a touchpoint will greatly enhance the throughput of patient behavior. For example, if a system knows that a patient is at a sixth-grade reading level or qualifies for financial assistance, then sending a confusing billing statement will only breed more misunderstanding and negate the best outcome. However, effective processes that identify patient attributes will provide insight on how to modify and simplify communication to drive the right message the patient will understand and respond to. The end result is successful patient engagement.

More articles on coding, billing and collections:
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Should your ASC go out of network? 3 key details to consider
The ASC payment landscape: 4 Qs with Alfonso del Granado of Ashton Center for Day Surgery

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