Patient’s Responsibility in the Financial Side of Healthcare
Patients’ financial responsibility has been increasing over the years, and this trend is stepping-up healthcare costs, with no assurance it’s going to slow down in the future. According to patientengagementhit, patient financial responsibility increased by 11 percent in 2017, a rise from $1,630 in Q4 2016 to $1,813 in Q4 2017, totaling an increase of $187. Many companies have come up with technological payment solutions to help patients and providers handle these funds so other things can be focused on. But with this much dependence on the patient, how can providers ensure the patient’s ability to pay and also effectively communicate with the able patients about their bills?
On this episode of “Highway to Health,” the host, David Kemp, brought on the best person from the industry, Kristina Gursky, the Vice President of Healthcare Client Success at IC System, to provide insight to this question and talk about how they’ve been helping patients find resolution.
To talk about herself and what she does at IC System, Gursky said, “I am responsible for implementation and ongoing relationship management with our healthcare partners. Understanding what issues they are facing so we can offer solutions to their pain points when it comes to patients’ dollars.”
Kemp and Gursky discussed:
- About IC systems
- How state and federal regulations apply when it comes to collecting funds from the patient.
- Other things Gursky is hearing from providers and customers about why they might leverage IC system.
“Nobody intends to get sick or injured, but all of a sudden, you find yourself in those situations, and you’ve got to seek services, and with those services comes a price tag. And no, there is so much more money going into patient responsibility than ever before with high deductible health plans or just a general lack of qualified insurance to help cover those situations. When that happens, a bill gets created, and the patient is like, “I don’t know how to pay for that.” There are so many options available to them to resolve their bills. When a provider can’t recover the bill through their own tools or tech, they’ll use an outsourcing partner like IC Systems to help do that for them. One of the things I’m proud of with the way we work is that we understand healthcare is different, and we’ve got that business segment in our office where we are able to provide trainings to our representatives to teach them what a deductible means, what a coinsurance means, etc.,” Gursky said. “We want a provider who focuses on what they do best, which is the physical health of the patient and healing them. Outsourcing partners like IC Systems and others help in the revenue cycle by elevating that back office burden of getting paid and ensuring payment is accurate and timely,” she added.
Kemp asked if IC system has seen a rise in patient responsibility and a rise in outstanding balances. “We have. We’ve seen our average balances increase over the years, which is a good indicator that more of that financial responsibility is falling to the patient. We’ve seen an uptick in the number of accounts placed with us. I think what’s more important as this responsibility on the patient increases is how we help that patient find resolution,” Gursky responded.
As a last note to the listeners, Gursky gave her advice to those who have been turned off by the industry:
“Anyone that is being turned off by the idea of using collections in the past should relook at the industry and partners that are willing to align with your mission, vision, and values. There are those of us out there that are patient-focused and work hard to maintain community images on your behalf and do so in a compliant manner that allows resolution at the end of the day.”
Kristina Gursky is the VP of Client Success at IC System. She has deep experience in healthcare business analytics, revenue cycles, and strategy. Kristina is a valued subject matter expert in the healthcare industry, earning an appointment to the AAHAM National Patient Financial Advocate Task Force in 2020. Kristina also holds the AAHAM Certified Revenue Cycle Professional and HFMA Certified Revenue Cycle Specialist designation and has a degree in Healthcare Administration.