The Elite Billing and Payment Blog

Three Ways to Ensure Your Patient Statements Are 501(r)-Compliant

Posted by Brian Watson on Fri, Mar 04, 2016 @ 10:01 AM

To say the healthcare regulatory environment is constantly changing would be a major understatement.

Providers face a near-unrelenting stream of complex rules for areas like coding, patient privacy, reimbursement, and quality.  As soon as one deadline passes, it seems like implementation for another new regulatory project is already closing fast.

And 2016 is shaping up to provide more of the same regulatory story. The HHS currently has 153 new regulations in development – ranging from the fairly mundane to big, costly, and transformational. 

In other words, don’t expect any shortage of major regulatory stories in 2016.  But of all the deadlines on the horizon, IRS Rule 501(r) for tax-exempt hospitals might have the most far-reaching consequences for your organization.

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Tags: Statement Design, Compliance

Improve Patient Statement Effectiveness with These Eight Simple Metrics

Posted by Brian Watson on Mon, Jan 25, 2016 @ 06:10 PM

Without margin, there is no mission. 

I’m not a betting man, but I’d wager this isn’t the first time you’ve come across that particular expression.

Shopworn or not, it’s stuck around this long because it neatly describes one of the key challenges of healthcare financial management.  The mission of healthcare is to deliver high-quality care to patients in need.  But that principle can only be met if the bottom line is healthy enough to keep the doors open and lights on. 

No margin, no mission.

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Tags: Statement Design

How Intelligent Programming Reduces Statement Print & Mail Costs

Posted by Brian Watson on Wed, Dec 09, 2015 @ 05:37 PM

Healthcare providers face significant financial challenges in a post-reform marketplace.

Although tight margins are nothing new for the industry – the aggregate operating margin for hospitals between 2003 and 2013 was just 4.09% – the recent rise in patient out-of-pocket costs is further pressuring profitability.

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Tags: Statement Design

Scarcity, Bandwith, and Smarter Patient Financial Communication

Posted by Brian Watson on Fri, Oct 30, 2015 @ 11:32 AM

Providers spend ample time and energy ensuring that the billing process is as fast and painless as possible for self-pay patients. 

From emerging billing tools to more transparent, consumer-friendly billing practices, building a better self-pay system is generally top-of-mind with revenue cycle leadership – especially as out-of-pocket costs continue to grow.

And yet 57% of consumers in a recent survey reported allowing a medical bill to go to collections.  Forty-five percent wait more than a month to pay.  And medical bills make up a majority of the debts referred to third-party collection agencies.

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Tags: Statement Design, Self-Pay Revenue

How to Optimize Your Billing Statements For Mobile In 3 Simple Steps

Posted by Brian Watson on Tue, Oct 27, 2015 @ 10:03 AM

Mobile phones have quickly become an indispensible communication tool for most Americans.

According to the Pew Internet Project, a near-universal 90% of U.S. adults now own cell phones – and almost two-thirds have already upgraded to a smartphone.  Not to mention smartphones are among the fastest-selling products in history – outselling PCs at a rate of four-to-one.

But phone ownership alone doesn’t adequately describe just how ingrained mobile phones have become in the lives of the average American. 

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Tags: Statement Design, Mobile Payment, QR Codes

How to Use Choice Architecture to Simplify Your Statement Design

Posted by Brian Watson on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 @ 04:17 PM

The world is a hectic, complex place – and it does a good job of keeping us thinking.

In an average day, we make thousands of decisions. Some are big and require active thought, like when to ask for a promotion or how much of your paycheck to put into a 401(k).  Others are much smaller and more intuitive, like determining if there’s hostility in a co-worker's voice or whether to use a fork or a spoon to eat mashed potatoes at lunch. 

And while thousands of choices a day may seem like a lot of time spent in deliberation, our brains are incredibly efficient at quickly compartmentalizing decisions.

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Tags: Statement Design

A 12 Step Guide to Creating ‘Consumerist’ Patient Financial Communication

Posted by Brian Watson on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 @ 12:22 PM

With patients asked to shoulder a larger portion of healthcare costs, providers are looking for ways to improve how they communicate with consumers about financial responsibilities

Many hospitals and health organizations have already spent a considerable time and resources in the pursuit of smarter statement design, only to have patients still struggle to consistently understand the financial side of their care. 

While statement improvement is a good start – one with clear financial benefits – more needs to be done to improve how patients anticipate and manage costs.

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Tags: Statement Design, Patient Friendly Billing

How to Use Color to Improve Statement Design Effectiveness

Posted by Brian Watson on Thu, Mar 19, 2015 @ 07:37 PM

Color is one of those small details that can have a really big impact on revenue cycle performance. 

Something as simple how we perceive color can shape everything from our emotions to the decisions we make.  Studies show that teachers who use pens with red ink to mark errors are more likely to spot errors and be more critical when grading essays, for example.

When our brains process color, light from various shades entering the eye sends a series of signals to a region of the brain called the hypothalamus – which is responsible for hormone production in the pituitary gland.  That pituitary response signals the thyroid gland, releasing hormones that affect emotions, mood, and physical behavior. 

In other words, people are genetically hard-wired to respond strongly to color.  

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Tags: Statement Design

3 Ways to Leverage Big Data for Better Statement Processing Results

Posted by Brian Watson on Tue, Sep 23, 2014 @ 12:32 PM

Big data has quickly become one of those catchall technology buzzwords – like cloud computing or gameification – that’s thrown around incessantly these days.

And it’s not hard to see why.  There’s just something so cool and mysterious about what the term implies: quickly mining huge data sets to uncover actionable information to solve big problems. 

But big data isn’t a new concept for the healthcare industry.   

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Tags: Statement Processing, Statement Design

An 8 Step Plan for Writing Damn Effective Statement Copy

Posted by Brian Watson on Mon, Jul 07, 2014 @ 04:48 PM

It’s convenient to blame the short, to-the-point way we communicate today on things like Twitter, text message abbreviations, or the click-and-go nature of the web. 

One-hundred-forty character limits and studies that suggest the average web visitor only spends about 15 second browsing a page do make pretty good targets, after all.

But the truth is language has been undergoing a process of simplification for hundreds and hundreds of years.

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Tags: Statement Processing, Statement Design

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