One of the problems the US Healthcare industry faces is uncompensated care, also known as charity care. This is the overall measure of hospital care provided for patients that couldn’t, or wouldn’t, pay for their treatment. Hospitals do not expect to get reimbursed for it, and this uncollectable expense is written off as bad debt.
In 2012, uncompensated care amounted to $45.9 billion dollars or 6% of annual expenses for all hospitals in the United States. U.S. hospitals reported that 5.93% of their 2nd quarter 2014 gross revenue was written off as bad debt, up from 5.09% in the 1st quarter.
When measured by region, these numbers are even more staggering. Hospitals in the Midwest wrote off 11.40% of their 2nd quarter 2014 gross revenue as bad debt. This is alarming considering that bad debt only accounted for 4.73% in 1st quarter 2014.
This, in part, would be because of patients that did not have medical insurance. In the first three months of 2014, 13.1% of Americans were uninsured. The Affordable Care Act caused the number of uninsured Americans to drop significantly. By April 2015, Gallup reported that the percentage of adults without medical coverage dropped to 11.9% in the first quarter of 2015.
Even once more extensive insurance coverage allows more people to pay their bills, hospitals still need to improve with regards to communication. David Wierz of The OCI Group explains the key things hospitals should aim to improve.
Taking a cue from the retail and restaurant industry, some hospitals have capitalized on mobile technology to collect payment. Debby Essex, Director of Admissions at Aspen Valley Hospital in Colorado, noted an increase in payments made when patients were given the option of paying via iPad. “Instead of asking a patient to go to another desk to pay,” Essex said, “our staff can collect payments using iPads during bedside discharge.”
Now patients can just leave the hospital or doctor’s office once they are done, instead of waiting around to make a payment. It’s done on their terms. Essex went on to extol upon the other virtues the mobile payments provides. ”I’m constantly traveling between our various locations. Regardless of where I am, I can check our balance for the day or access real-time reports.”
The healthcare industry can benefit from the services IVR Technology Groups offers.
Our mobile payment system, PayIT, enables patients to take care of their medical expenses without pulling out a checkbook or waiting in a queue, unless they choose to. Your patients can easily pay their medical expenses using our secure system, and concentrate on getting healthy.
The health care industry needs to focus on providing the best possible care, while communicating with patients in a manner which best suits them. Allowing more options to collect payments, will vastly improve the healthcare industry by allowing hospitals to focus more on the health of their patients, rather than how a bill will be paid.