Closing the Books: Patient Advocacy in Healthcare from the Provider to Collections

What does patient advocacy look like in 2021, and how has COVID-19 impacted the healthcare system from the patient to the provider and collection agencies? Kristina Gursky, Director of Healthcare Client Success at IC System, and Kenny Koerner, Director of Revenue Cycle at CGH Medical Center, helped host Tyler Kern break down this important and timely topic.

Koerner admitted there were a lot of lessons learned throughout the past year.

“Patient advocacy – the education of our patients and helping them through not only a normal time when they’re going through healthcare finance and trying to navigate on the complexity of it – the pandemic added another layer to that,” Koerner said. “Advocacy for us, from an AAHAM perspective and a hospital facilities perspective, we’re trying everything we can to make sure we’re reaching out to our patients and educating them any chance we can, especially early on in their healthcare visit.”

Educating patients on the financial responsibilities of their healthcare is something Koerner recognizes as a high-priority opportunity. Adding to that, Gursky said that business providers like IC System want to help support those education efforts. They are lending their support to the AAHAM guide to healthcare finance, which is nearing completion.

“Learning these policies and what options are available has been so important to us [and to ensuring] we can continue that message of advocacy through the backend of the revenue cycle,” Gursky said.

Why is education such a critical piece of the patient advocacy puzzle?

“Working within the healthcare system, we’re aware of the various grants, programs and drug rebates – just a wide array of programs that are available to assist patients with in and out-of-pocket costs,” Koerner said. “We try to approach patients very early in the process, making sure of everything from the understanding of insurance benefits and the terminology that goes along with that to what their potential out-of-pocket’s going to be, so there are no surprises after the service.”

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