Hospitals fail to collect payments at service time

Seven out of 10 hospitals and health systems collect less than 30 percent of their payments at the time of service, according to a poll by credit and information management company TransUnion Healthcare. Among the biggest reasons why, institutions said that they had a difficult time determining the amount owed and that patients are not prepared to pay at service time.

The recent poll draws into question the long-standing tradition of collecting payment after service.

"Traditionally, hospitals have focused their financial attention on collecting payment after the patient care cycle has been completed, which can be incredibly time intensive and expensive," said TransUnion Healthcare Executive Vice President Milton Silva-Craig in a press release. "Our poll confirmed there is significant opportunity in point-of-service collections, given the drastic disparity between front-end collections and back-end recovery rates."

In fact, less than half (44 percent) of poll respondents said they receive 15 percent of payments before service. Of the payments that go to collections, eight in 10 people said less than 60 percent of those payment are actually made. Only about a quarter of institutions recover rates between 0 and 15 percent, according to the press release.

TransUnion recommends:

  • Communicating with patients about the financial responsibility before service
  • Training staff to ask patients for payment without compromising care
  • Automate revenue cycle tools

For more information:
- read the TransUnion press release

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