Health IT ups Adventist's cash by millions

Facing hospital debt can seem an insurmountable challenge, but using point-of-service collection platforms can move the needle. One health system in California was able to leverage such tools to increase its collection by $2.2 million--a 48 percent increase.

Gary Friestad, corporate registration manager at Adventist Health, a 19-hospital system in Roseville, Calif., recently spoke to to Healthcare IT News about the launch of Adventist's POS collection platform and how other hospitals can take note.

The group expects POS collection to increase $5 to 6 million annually, Friestad said.

Taking measures to see what its progress is so far, Friestad said Adventist started with scheduled appointments that already have pre-registration complete before the patient arrives. Currently, Adventist is seeing eight of 17 facilities hitting their targets.

"As marvelous as this tool is ... as it gives the staff the ability to perform, it's not a magic trick," Friestad said. "Like many tools, it's only as good as the adoption efforts.

 Nine of 17 facilities have met another mark--having accounts financially secured.

"Patients have a great uncertainty and uneasiness about the financial ramifications," Friestad said. "They all know there are more loopholes in insurance. A patient can even call in and say, 'I'm being scheduled for a CT scan. I'm just wondering with my insurance what my cost will be.' We can load everything into an estimate tool on the fly without even an account in the system." 

Adventist site Simi Valley Hospital reported collecting 15 to 20 percent more per month in POS collections, exceeding its goal by 135 percent, according to the article.

As FierceHealthFinance recently reported, hospitals still have a lot of work to do to more effectively manage bad debt, and as a result, some have beefed up their collections processes ahead of the Affordable Care Act.

"They are really stepping up their point of service collections, training and educating their frontline staff in a way they really hadn't done previously for how to ask for money," Bill Hannah, a principal with the consulting firm DHG Healthcare, said. "We are seeing folks being much more creative in how they will set up payment plans, offering point of service discounts on self-pay portion where they can, utilizing new technologies to try to identify deductibles, co-pays, what those are."

To learn more:
- read the Healthcare IT News article

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