What to know about patient collections & ASC growth from Woodholme Gastroenterology Associates COO Pamela Isabel

 

New technology will spur ASC growth, according to Pamela Isabel, COO of Woodholme Gastroenterology Associates, which operates endoscopy centers and GI practices in the Baltimore area.

Here, Ms. Isabel shares her insight on ASC trends and growth opportunities.

Question: What is the biggest opportunity for growth you see for ASCs in the next 10 years? As an ASC leader, how do you hope to capitalize on growth opportunities?

Pamela Isabel: The opportunities for ASCs will continue to grow at an accelerated pace. Technology is becoming more amenable to the outpatient setting, which is the preferred location for medical care. Patients and their families enjoy the accessibility and efficiency of an ASC over the complexity of receiving care in an inpatient setting. As part of our strategic planning process, we continually seek opportunities to expand the breadth and depth of our services.

Q: What is your ASC's strategy for patient collections?

PI: Our approach to patient collections is multifaceted, but it begins with the first encounter with the patient. We start with the full set of demographic and insurance information. This information is verified prior to the patient’s visit. As the patient’s financial responsibility has grown over the past few years, so has the need to educate patients prior to the delivery of services. We use eligibility verification and cost estimator services provided by our EHR – gGastro. We educate patients that they must pay their co-payments at the time of service. We retain credit cards for patients that require payment plans. We also promote electronic payments through our EHR-provided patient portal. We have had excellent acceptance of these payment methods from our patients. We also work closely with our insurance carriers to facilitate speedy payment arrangements.

With operations working hand in hand with the financial department, we are able to maintain a positive financial position. Having and utilizing the array of electronic resources from the EHR, the payers and the banks facilitates the patient collection process.

Q: How do you budget for and select new technologies for your ASC?

PI: We utilize a team approach to the selection of new technologies. Our ASC management works closely with the physicians to identify, select and budget for new technology. We consider the needs of our patients and our desire to provide as full array of medical care in our ASC as is possible. Our financial approach ranges from outright purchase to leasing of new equipment. We desire to keep our ASC up to date for both our providers and our patients.

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