Patient Payment Options

Do You Know Why Patient Payment Options Are Vital In 2021?

Flexible and personalized patient payment options are needed more than ever as patient financial responsibility continues to grow.

Medical care is expensive. In fact, 99% of bills that exceeded $3,000 were not paid in full according to a TransUnion analysis in 2017.

Approximately 21 million Americans have high deductible health plans where they must pay 100% of out-of-pocket expenses until they satisfy the deductible – which could be in the thousands of dollars.

At the same time, 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings according to a survey by GOBankingRates.

The economic uncertainty is causing patients to conserve their cash flow.

Patients “shop” for more affordable healthcare services and demand better patient experiences—a trend we all know as healthcare consumerism.

The pandemic has created a pinch to both patients and providers—patients are struggling to pay for needed healthcare services while providers are experiencing a downturn in their revenue.

The key to solving this issue is through flexible patient payment options and payment plans such as what Mnet’s PaySUITE offers.

During this time of financial hardship, providers are seeing a big boost in the use of payment plans.

From e-statements to text billing, technology has also made paying for goods or services incredibly convenient thereby increasing consumer demand for a variety of payment options.

Patients want payment plans and personalized payment options

Patient Payment Options
Patient Payment Options

Patients need help in managing their financial responsibility in a way that doesn’t create financial stress.

Personalized and flexible payment plans allow providers to get more patients to have access to healthcare services they need the most during this time.

Simply sending a paper statement or an email of a patient’s balance just doesn’t cut it anymore in today’s healthcare landscape.

To meet patients where they really are, providers need to give multiple payment options, channels, and payment methods like online payments and text-to-pay.

Healthcare providers also need to look at patients’ financial situations and create personalized payment plans that make sense in terms of the amount and the period that works for them.

They also need to determine whether patients qualify for financial assistance or charity care.

Benefits of flexible payment options

As the world emerges from the pandemic, flexible patient payment options will become a key competitive advantage for providers.

A 2019 survey found that out of the patients who use payment plans, 76% reported they would complete all payments on time.

Other benefits include:

  • Increased patient satisfaction

Creating personalized payment plans means providers work proactively with patients to help determine their ability to pay and help them manage their medical expenses. This helps improve the patient’s financial experience and overall satisfaction levels.

At the same time, patients can be saved from the embarrassment of being unable to pay and from having their credit scores impacted.

  • Increased cash flow and revenue

Flexible payment plans allow providers to get paid faster and avoid having to chase patients with unpaid balances. It also allows providers to open their doors to more people who need medical care.

Therefore it’s important for providers to work with partners that offer 100% acceptance like Mnet’s PaySUITE to allow for 100% inclusion, never needing to turn any patient away due to credit history.

  • Increased patient loyalty

Patients deeply value flexible, interest-free financing plans and payment options.

Patient financing programs drive patient loyalty. This has been the experience of Texas-based Baylor Scott & White.

According to Sarah Knodel, SVP of revenue cycle for Baylor Scott & White, 91% of their patients are saying they return because of the healthcare system’s patient financing programs and 87% would refer them to family and friends.

PaySUITE: Complete Patient-Provider Solution for Customizable Patient Payment Options

With Mnet as their partner, providers can focus on delivering an exceptional experience through flexible patient payment options.

Mnet’s PaySUITE provides an end-to-end payment solution in helping patients pay from patient portals to customizable finance offerings.

A custom-branded web and mobile platform, PaySUITE is designed to offer 100% acceptance through custom payment plans, financing, and charity care where applicable.

Providers gets custom branded:

  • Website(s)
  • Compliant Text-to-Pay solution
  • Customizable finance offerings

Patients get:

  • Online & mobile bill pay
  • Self-help payment plans & financing options
  • Customer phone support with multi-lingual agents

With PaySUITE, providers get a full suite of tools which allows them to have a payment solution for every patient.


About Mnet

We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare.

Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


Out-of-pocket Expenses Mnet

How Are Out-of-Pocket Expenses Affecting Patients in 2021?

Increasing out-of-pocket expenses or patient financial responsibility is one of the biggest trends happening in healthcare today.

Struggling to keep up with their financial responsibility, patients are becoming more cost-conscious as insurers pass the risk to them with high-deductible health plans.

According to a recent nationwide survey by Healthcare Insider, 56 percent of US adults are worried their out-of-pocket healthcare costs would lead their household into bankruptcy when they get ill.

The survey also revealed that the top reason patients skip healthcare is because out-of-pocket expenses are too high, and they could not afford it (32 percent).

Healthcare affordability and out-of-pocket patient costs have been in the spotlight during this pandemic when everyone may need access to healthcare.

Many patients acknowledge the need to be able to access healthcare at least when they are feeling Covid symptoms.

However, health insurance out-of-pocket maximums have been increasing each year.

Health insurance plans set their own out-of-pocket maximums but have an upper limit on how high out-of-pocket costs can be which is imposed by federal regulations.

For the 2021 plan year, the maximum out-of-pocket or upper limit is $8,550 for an individual and $17,100 for a family.

In the recently published final Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2022, this upper limit increased to $8,700 for an individual and $17,400 for a family.

For perspective, this new out-of-pocket maximum in 2022 is 37 percent higher than it was in 2014.

What is an out-of-pocket expense / maximum related to healthcare?

Out-of-pocket Expenses Mnet
Out-of-pocket Expenses Mnet

A health insurance plan’s out-of-pocket maximum is the total amount you would have to pay in a plan year. These are medical expenses that aren’t reimbursed by your insurance.

Once you spend enough to reach your plan’s maximum in a given year, the insurer will then cover 100% of your medical bills.

Out-of-pocket costs include:

  • deductibles – the amount you need to pay before your insurance benefits kick in;
  • copays – small flat fees that you pay on the spot each time you go see a doctor, fill a prescription, visit a specialist, go to the emergency room, etc.;
  • coinsurance – the portion of the costs of a healthcare service that you pay after you’ve paid your deductible, but before you’ve met your out-of-pocket maximum.

The out-of-pocket limit doesn’t include:

  • out-of-network care/services
  • monthly premiums
  • cost of services your plan doesn’t cover
  • costs above the allowed amount for a service that a provider may charge

In essence, your insurer starts covering a portion of healthcare costs once you hit your deductible, and then covers all costs after you reach your out-of-pocket maximum.

If you receive care outside your plan’s network, the out-of-pocket maximum can be higher, or it can be unlimited.

Therefore, it’s so important to seek care in your plan network, because you’ll have lower out-of-pocket costs.

If you receive care out of your plan network, the costs will not count toward your in-network out-of-pocket maximum.

Patients need cost estimates and price transparency

Out-of-pocket Expenses Mnet
Out-of-pocket Expenses Mnet

With higher financial responsibility, healthcare consumers are demanding more transparency in relation to healthcare pricing.

Patients now turn to price transparency and comparison tools before a procedure or surgery to plan accordingly.

On January 1 this year, a new regulation took effect requiring hospitals to post payer-specific negotiated rates for 300 services. This move helped open the dialogue between patients and physicians about the cost of their care.

While this is helpful, patients still won’t know what they’re paying out of pocket due to in-network and out-of-network billing complications.

What patients really need to understand is what the impact to their portion would be from copays to their deductible.

Providing transparency into the true out-of-pocket costs helps patients navigate payment options before receiving care.

How can patients pay for out-of-pocket expenses?

Out-of-pocket Expenses Mnet
Out-of-pocket Expenses Mnet

Patients know they need to access healthcare, but they cannot always afford to do so.

Cost estimates open the opportunity to discuss resources and start the conversation early on if patients can’t afford the expenses.

A comprehensive solution to this dilemma is to provide a payment plan, which allows patients to spread payments out over a longer period and make medical care bills more affordable.

If patients can’t afford to pay the balance, they might need payment plans and financing options.

Healthcare facilities need to work with a partner that provides patient financing allowing patients the flexibility to customize payment options to fit their needs.

Providers need to look for a partner that allows for a 100% patient acceptance rate like Mnet’s PaySUITE. This would mean that all your patients can get access to financing options.

To help the patient further, payment extensions should also have zero percent interest and no credit checks. This offers your patients more time to pay their bill regardless of the remaining amount.

A payment solution that accepts a variety of payments, including mobile pay and text-to-pay, is also crucial because it improves the patient experience and allows people to pay using the tools they already love.

As patients navigate an economy crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic, they need all the flexibility and financial options they need to get access to needed healthcare.

This is where your facility can really make a difference in patients’ lives.


About Mnet

We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare.

Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


Mnet Patient Experience

4 Effective Patient Engagement Strategies To Improve Patient Experience

Effective patient engagement strategies are essential in improving the patient experience, especially in the era of healthcare consumerism.

This means implementing technologies and processes that work together to turn fragmented encounters into seamless patient experiences.

In a 2020 Digital Health Consumer Survey conducted by Accenture, 39 percent of consumers surveyed believe a good digital interaction has a major influence on the patient experience.

More than a quarter (26%) are even willing to switch to a new provider for high-quality digital services.

With the increasing trend of healthcare consumerism, patients are demanding better access to care and better experiences with their providers.

Healthcare providers that are effective in engaging their patients will far exceed their competitors in driving patient volume and satisfaction.

In this article, we’ll define exactly what patient experience is and break down patient engagement strategies your center can use to stay connected to your patients.

What is the patient experience and why does it matter?

Mnet What Is Patient Experience
Mnet What Is Patient Experience

As defined by the Beryl Institute, the patient experience is “the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perception across the continuum of care.”

Whether it’s a phone call, a hospital visit, a smooth wait time, or the quality of care and the billing experience—all these touchpoints and other small interactions make up the entire patient experience.

Providers need to consider how all these patient interactions work together to set the tone for a positive patient experience.

Patient experiences not only affect patient health, but also have a direct impact on an organization’s bottom line.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself as a provider:

  • How easy or hard is it for patients to get an appointment or to pay their bills?
  • Why do patients hesitate or delay paying their bills?
  • How are your patients being treated by your office staff?

Today, the patient experience is no longer just about the quality of care and healthcare outcomes.

According to a 2020 Waystar survey, more than half (52%) of respondents stated are often more concerned about medical billing than the quality of care they receive.

What are some effective patient engagement strategies?

Patient engagement is the willingness of patients to interact with a healthcare provider voluntarily.

It could be the willingness of a patient to receive education about becoming more healthy or to seek out financing options and payment plans.

For example, a patient ‘liking’ a practice’s Facebook post or checking out the patient portal are types of patient engagements which may have nothing to do with the patient’s health status.

With so many touchpoints, you might wonder what are some of the most effective patient engagement strategies?

    1. Cultivate the provider-patient relationship with human interaction

    Patient Experience Human Interaction
    Patient Experience Human Interaction

    Effective patient engagement depends much on the ability of your center to cultivate personal and long-lasting relationships with patients.

    Compassion and empathy are not something patients can get from an AI or an app.

    Having a patient concierge center to assist patients whether they have a concern with their billing or with the quality of care they received ensures that patients leave with a happy experience.

    Having a real person who can connect with patients and treat them with dignity and respect and who may even speak their language will go a long way in building patient loyalty.

      2. Leverage omnichannel patient communication

      Mnet Omnichannel
      Mnet Omnichannel

      Patient communication is the heart of patient engagement. This means providers should embrace new communication channels like online patient portals, email, text messaging platforms, and even social media in a constant effort to keep patients engaged and informed.

        3. Tap into the digital revolution

        Mnet Digital
        Mnet Digital

        In today’s high-tech, high-touch healthcare environment, patients want to be engaged when they want and how they want (email or text).

        Technologies which allow patients to set-up payment plans, make credit card payments, or even apply for financial assistance can help patients feel more in control of the process and educated about their options.

          4. Provide both health & financial education

          Mnet Education
          Mnet Education

          Healthcare providers need to reinforce their role to provide patient education both within and beyond their facility – from health matters to financial questions.

          Well-informed patients are more likely to adhere to treatment protocols. Educating patients about their financial obligations and the billing process also helps clear up potential confusion, making it easier for patients to pay their bills.

          Partner with Mnet to improve both your patient financial experience and patient engagement strategies.

          As healthcare consumerism is on the rise, providers would need to be better in engaging their patients as they expect more convenience in ways to pay and better financial experience.

          With Mnet, providers can get ahead in winning and retaining their patients through innovative solutions aligned with their patient engagement strategies.

          Text-to-Pay: Send patient invoices, reminders, collect payments, and provide receipts all via text message. Mnet’s Text-to-Pay platform is designed to deliver all patient financial services — everything from payment in full to pay-plans and financing all neatly offered in a text experience.

          Patient Financial Advocates (Patient Concierge): Get uniquely trained patient financial advocates (PFAs) who can speak the patients’ language (covering 200+ languages and available nights and weekends). PFAs will answer patients’ questions and “educate” them about their financial responsibility, including offering payment plans, financing options, and compliant charity care programs.

          PaySUITE: Get state-of-the-art payment technologies custom-branded to your facility. PaySUITE has everything you need for your patients to pay from online & mobile bill pay, self-help payment plans & financing options, and customer phone support with multi-lingual agents.

          With patients behaving more like consumers than ever before, providers need to demonstrate the value that their patients will receive by choosing them as their provider. Make your facility stand out by partnering with Mnet today!


          About Mnet

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare.

          Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          Healthcare Consumerism

          How Healthcare Consumerism Will Affect Your Facility

          COVID’s Effect on Healthcare Consumerism

          With the rise in healthcare consumerism, the healthcare industry is undergoing an unprecedented level of transformation.

          COVID-19 has dramatically altered the trajectory of consumerism in healthcare.

          This transformation becomes clearer when you consider the data from a consumer survey done by Ketchum:

          • During the wake of the pandemic, 45 percent of consumers reported that they have already changed their healthcare brand preference
          • 62 percent expect to do so once the pandemic has ended

          This begs the question: how will your healthcare facility stay competitive and top-of-mind among healthcare consumers? How will you increase patient loyalty?

          In a recent 2021 Healthcare Consumer Trends Report by NRC Health which surveyed over 300,000 American households, 52% say that convenience is one of the most important drivers for choosing their providers.

          For sure, technology will play an increasingly important role in this evolution. But so will the frequency and quality of human interactions.

          Value-for-money, quality of service, and more importantly, an outstanding patient experience will be key defining factors to remain competitive.

          In this article, we will dive into what every healthcare provider should know about this healthcare consumerism trend.

          What is healthcare consumerism?

          Healthcare consumerism on phone
          Healthcare consumerism on phone

          Healthcare consumerism means patients are becoming more involved in their own healthcare decisions and well-being.

          In essence, it is the empowerment of the patient—the economic purchasing power and decision-making shifts into the hands of the consumer.

          This trend has been accelerated by the Affordable Care Act, which left many consumers with large deductibles.

          Patients “shop” for the right fit of quality and affordability. They are demanding fast, reliable, and affordable options.

          Patients are increasingly acting like consumers, trying to make the best decisions for quality and cost—just as they do with any other commodity.

          What does healthcare consumerism mean for providers?

          Healthcare consumerism entails a massive transformation in how healthcare providers deliver, market, and charge for healthcare services.

          Today, patients can access much more detailed information about important factors such as a hospital’s complication and readmission rates and even online reviews from other patients.

          Providers will need to focus on improving the patient experience, building their brands, and operating more like a retail business in a highly competitive market.

          Healthcare providers are now discovering what other sectors have long since known: Everything is about the patient experience.

          Therefore, the healthcare industry is increasingly looking to the retail industry for ideas on how to meet consumers on their terms.

          According to NTT Data, 59% of US consumers expect their healthcare digital customer experience to be similar to retail. They want healthcare experiences that are as frictionless as those offered by airlines or ecommerce industries.

          The retail industry heavily emphasizes the convenience factor and understands this concept very well that the retail clinic market is expected to surpass $8 billion by the end of 2028.

          The impact of healthcare consumerism and working to meet consumer demands

          Impact of Healthcare Consumerism Mnet
          Impact of Healthcare Consumerism Mnet

          One of the key impacts of healthcare consumerism is that patients are becoming increasingly cautious about how, when, and where they pay for healthcare services for themselves and their family.

          According to the Deloitte 2020 Survey of US Health Care Consumers, some of the implications of healthcare consumerism to providers include:

          • Deploying new tools and services: Healthcare consumers are now more willing to adopt new digital tools that can play an important role in the future of care and have the potential to increase consumer satisfaction.
          • Earning consumer trust through empathy & reliability: To earn the trust and loyalty of consumers, providers need to demonstrate transparency, reliability, and a sense of empathy in their operations.

          Patients are now more frequently asking about their out-of-pocket expenses before receiving treatment.

          Most patients have the ability and want to pay their medical bills, but they don’t always understand or “trust” the amounts they see on their bill.

          Consumers want convenience and choice in their healthcare interactions. They also want their healthcare providers to harness technology in interacting with them. They want experiences that put their needs at the center.

          Therefore, healthcare consumerism is also having major impacts on the contact centers that interact with patients on behalf of healthcare organizations and providers.

          Having engaged conversations with patients instills trust and providing patients with tools to manage their financial responsibility empowers them to act.

          Conclusion:

          Online appointment scheduling, patient contact centers, mobile payment technologies, and payment plans all lead to the path towards consumer-centricity.

          Working with patients based on their actual needs will help create a positive financial relationship with them, thereby increasing patient loyalty and boosting collections performance.

          This is why Mnet’s Patient Billing Solutions can help your center thrive in the era of healthcare consumerism.


          About Mnet

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare.

          Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          Derek Smith, Mnet Health CEO

          Mnet Health Announces Derek Smith as New Chief Executive Officer

          Mnet Health announced today that Derek Smith has joined the company as new Chief Executive Officer.

          ALISO VIEJO, CA, May 18, 2021  Mnet Health, the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry, announced today that Derek Smith has joined the company as chief executive officer. Smith succeeds company founder David Hamilton, who has served as CEO since the company’s inception and will remain involved with the company in an advisory and board position.

          Smith’s move to Mnet Health builds upon decades of experience in healthcare technology. Most recently, he served as Chief Revenue Officer at eSolutions, a leading healthcare revenue cycle management (RCM) company, where he oversaw rapid expansion and growth. Previously, Smith served as Chief Commercial Officer of Global Healthcare Exchange, the leading provider of healthcare supply chain solutions, where he oversaw strategy, product, and rapid market expansion, penetrating 85% of the U.S. hospital and supplier market. Additional leadership and consulting roles across sales, strategy, finance, and product development round out Smith’s extensive experience.

          Derek Smith, Mnet Health CEO

          “I am excited to join the Mnet Health team and to be a part of the company’s exciting growth strategy,” Smith said. “I look forward to building upon Mnet’s record of success with continued investment in our solutions, customers, and team.”

          Lauren Illescas, Chief Operating Officer, said, “This is an exciting time at Mnet Health, we are continuing to hit new company records for revenue.  Derek’s successful track-record is centered on the customer and their satisfaction. Even more, his experience investing in solutions to increase provider cash flow will help accelerate Mnet Health’s growth while remaining committed to our mission.”

          David Hamilton, Mnet Health’s founder and CEO, will remain involved with the company in an advisory and board position.  Hamilton led the company from its founding in 2005, creating a market-leading company that today handles more than $1.0 billion in managed balances for over 900 facilities and millions of patients.

          “I’m proud of the positive impact Mnet Health has made on addressing the critical issue of healthcare provider reimbursement,” Hamilton said. “Building Mnet Health into a world-class healthcare technology organization has been an amazing experience. I’m excited that a proven leader like Derek has joined Mnet Health to drive further growth and success for our customers and employees and look forward to partnering with him.”

          Smith joins Mnet Health during a period of rapid and exciting growth. The company is actively hiring additional team members and expanding its headquarters in Orange County as it continues to break records for patients and facilities served. For more information on Mnet Health and its technology, payment solutions and patient concierge service, visit mnethealth.com.

          To read the original press release on PRweb, click here.


          About Mnet

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare. Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          Text-to-Pay Patient Solution

          Text-to-Pay Is The Patient Solution Your Facility Needs

          With the advent of e-mails, app-based messaging apps, and social networks, it is easy to forget that SMS is still the most popular and dominant form of communication. In 2020 alone, there were 2.1 trillion SMS messages exchanged in the United States, according to a recent survey by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA).

          Consumers love SMS because of its overall reliability and cost-effectiveness. It has very high open rates and overall usage rates making it a potent tool as an efficient patient billing solution.

          The average response time for a text message is 60X faster than email. While emails get lost in junk folders and phone calls go straight to VM, 95% of texts are read within 3 minutes of being sent.

          Text billing can lead to quicker payment and improved collection efficiencies when done right. It is important that your facility understands the rules and regulations around using text as a collection tool.

          If you have questions or concerns about text billing, the best strategy is to partner with a licensed Patient Financial Services company like Mnet Health that offers a complete text billing solution and patient call center all-in-one.

          Benefits of Partnering with Mnet To Help Patients Pay

          1. Get Paid Faster and Boost Self-Pay Collections by Up To 121%

          Text-to-Pay Get Paid Quicker

          Text messages create a sense of urgency. Creating urgency helps get you paid faster. After 6 months, a debt is only 50% recoverable. After 12 months, this drops to 10%.

          This is why Mnet offers a complete & compliant text billing solution. With Text-to-Pay, you are guaranteed to increase your revenues by getting paid in the fastest way.

          For example at Baylor Scott & White (Las Colinas) — within 60 days of offering Mnet’s Text-to-Pay, 63% of patients enrolled in text billing paid in full. By utilizing Mnet’s 1st Party Billing Services, the surgical hospital reduced bad debt expense by $1.1M and improved average monthly self-pay collections by 121%.

          2. Get Concierge-Level Experience for Every Patient and Lesser Complaints

          Text-to-Pay Concierge Experience

          In healthcare, just sending patients text bills without helpful agents causes more complaints than payments!

          Therefore, Mnet complements Text Billing with helpful agents or Patient Financial Advocates (PFAs) — from getting consent (ensuring that the consent process is complete) up to answering questions about the bill.

          Having patient financial advocates who can speak the patients’ language can make a huge difference in the patient payment experience. Partnering with Mnet means you get uniquely trained patient financial advocates (PFAs) covering 200+ languages to help patients if needed.

          These are agents who can answer patients in their native tongue about insurance coverage questions, offer financing solutions, and have a firm understanding of TCPA, FDCPA, and other relevant collection laws.

          3. Get Best-in-Class Patient Financial Experience

          Text-to-Pay Best in Class

          Mnet’s Text-to-Pay solution makes it easy to pay a bill on the go. It also makes it very easy to view payment plans and financing options. With Text-to-Pay, it is also easier for patients to call their provider by tapping the phone number listed in the SMS message.

          In one survey, almost 80% of consumers said that they wished that businesses would text them more. Text-to-Pay is a more immediate billing strategy that can improve your bottom line quickly by reaching patients where they already spend most of their time.

          With Mnet Health’s Text-to-Pay solution, you are certain that you are going to have the best-in-class billing solution around.

          By partnering with Mnet, your facility stands out by having:

          • Complete & compliant text billing solution (Text-to-Pay)
          • Service Center available on nights & weekends
          • Multilingual Patient Financial Advocates (200+ languages are covered)
          • Increased payment options by implementing PaySuite
          • Payment Automation with patient accounting software and merchant services integration

          Interested in learning more about how Text-to-Pay will improve your bottom line?

          Request A Consult

          About Mnet Health

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare. Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          Mnet ASC Revenue

          3 Digital Tools to Maximize Your ASC Revenue

          Surgery centers are gradually rebounding from the revenue impacts of 2020. However, with the massive surgery backlogs, ‘normal’ is not quite there yet thus continuing to affect ASC revenue.

          The challenge is for ASCs to remain profitable while facilitating a safe surgical environment for both patients and staff. In addition to patient care, revenue cycle management and receiving timely patient payments is a top concern for ASCs.

          The traditional payment model for healthcare providers across specialties is broken. For example, patients leave appointments or procedures without establishing expectations with the provider of how or when they will pay the balance. Providers are left chasing after those payments sending follow up statements and the revenue cycle stalls at accounts receivables.

          The pandemic required surgery centers to rethink their strategies, implement new processes, and improve their patient experience.

          During the pandemic, consumers have found several new behaviors which will continue to stick long after the pandemic is over.

          According to a McKinsey survey, consumers intend to continue with many digital behaviors even after COVID-19 subsides, including online purchasing (35 percent increase in online spend penetration) and use of digital health-and-wellness tools (70 to 80 percent intend to continue post-COVID-19).

          While the surgery sector is a pioneer of cutting-edge clinical technology, its payment and revenue cycle systems are often lagging, which directly influences overall ASC revenue.

          Digital technologies exist to solve the problem of chasing patient payments and outstanding accounts receivables by making it easier for patients to pay, extending payment options, and automating the payment workflow.

          Here are 3 must-have tools for offices to maximize their ASC revenue:

          1. Digital Payment Options & Contactless Payment Technologies Like Text-to-Pay 

          3 Digital Tools to Maximize ASC Revenue - Text-to-Pay

          Patients want a retail-like payment experience, and the pandemic has only accelerated the preference for convenient contactless methods.

          The reality is that many ASC back offices are still years behind offering the latest payment options. The traditional methods of mailing bills or checks and reading credit card numbers over the phone are inefficient.

          At the same time, ASCs are less likely to receive timely payments and their staff is going to spend a significant portion of their time chasing them.

          Opening up more convenient payment methods has a big impact on surgical facilities. With digital payment options like online and mobile bill pay, patients can manage their own finances and it makes it as easy as possible for them.

          For example, with Text-to-Pay technology, ASCs can text patients their balance and allow them to make payments and view payment options, payment plans, and financing options.

          When patients receive payment options quickly, not only do they save time, but their frustration is reduced, resulting in a patient experience that is more satisfying. Giving patients convenient payment tools that they prefer and expect greatly increases the chances of receiving a timely payment.

          2. Payment Plan Technology to Stabilize Cashflow

          Payment plan technology gives surgery centers a practical solution for working with patient payments especially those who are unable to or prefer not to pay their balance in full.

          A 2021 Healthcare Payment Experience Report by PYMNTS revealed the following:

          • 2 out of 3 patients (63 percent) said they want access to payment plans
          • 54 percent of patients want to manage their payments digitally
          • 33 percent of patients said establishing payment plans would entice them to switch medical providers

          Payment plans allow patients to afford care by making payment manageable. It also incentivizes patients to start treatment or procedures that they might otherwise be hesitant to begin with due to costs.

          When patients can create individualized payment plans, their satisfaction and loyalty increases.

          As you adapt to each patient’s specific needs, your ASC receives consistent incoming payments instead of waiting on a large payment that might not come. For any healthcare facility, cash flow is important for growth and in bouncing back from the pandemic revenue struggle.

          3. Automation Technology for the Payment Workflow

          Automation is becoming the new standard in revenue cycle management.

          With more self-pay patient payments coming in, it is crucial to invest in technologies that will interface with your patient accounting software and merchant services and automatically post payments to the patient account or ledger.

          Leveraging automation technology significantly reduces administrative burden and errors in manual payment posting. It also frees up time for staff to focus on more revenue-generating activities.

          Having an automatic way to sync payments between systems and third-party vendors removes the possibility of error and reduces delayed payments over bill confusion. This ultimately results in higher patient satisfaction because of up-to-date information.

          Here are four essential areas that needs vendor automation especially for self-pay accounts:

          • Daily accounts submission
          • Daily payment and adjustment account reconciliation
          • Vendor collections automatically directed to existing merchant services
          • Automatic invoices that are gross remit and automatically paid

          By implementing these digital tools, you can maximize your revenue and improve your patient collections.


          About Mnet Health

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare. Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          Text-to-Pay

          How Mnet's Solution, Text-to-Pay, Will Save You Money and Get You Paid Quicker

          With many healthcare facilities, we see that those best positioned for growth are focused on programs and investments that both provide more value to their patients and advance their healthcare mission.

          These providers look for solutions that help them deliver the right care in the best way, improve the effectiveness and performance of their operations, and provide the best patient experience.

          What patients really want is a more helpful, transparent experience — one that is quick, easy, and simple.

          Our case studies demonstrate this and show how we have increased patient collections using simple yet powerful technology.

          For example, Baylor Surgical Hospital at Las Colinas reduced bad debt expense by $1.1M and improved average monthly self-pay collections by 121% (i.e., from $70k to over $155k monthly) after implementing Mnet’s Text-to-Pay Solutions.

          In addition, in the first 60 days of offering Text-to-Pay, 63% of patients who agreed to manage their bill by text, paid in full, while 27% of patients used Text-to-Pay to set up a payment plan.

          Some facilities may think that, in order to be better, they have to add and change a bunch of things like getting the latest and most-expensive technologies with all the bells and whistles.

          But in reality, the solution may be much simpler than assumed.

          Text Became the Preferred Communication Channel During the Pandemic

          Pre-COVID, text messaging was steadily gaining traction as an effective communication channel for engaging patients.

          But since COVID-19 hit, texting capabilities have quickly shifted from being “nice-to-have” to “must-have.”

          According to a McKinsey survey, following the COVID-19 outbreak, 30% of Americans report that they are more likely to spend time texting, chatting, and messaging.

          A study by one technology firm also found that between March to June 2020, there was a 450% surge in consumers texting Main Street businesses and a 393% increase in contactless, text-to-order (text-to-pay) revenue.

          text-to-pay-infograph

          The spread of COVID-19 in the US created an immediate need for rapid communication between healthcare providers and large groups of patients. Texting fills that need as text messages are quickly and easily sent.

          Some providers have employed special sanitation technologies and some even disinfection robots which are commendable efforts.

          Interestingly, many providers have also realized the power of low-cost text messaging and the way it can be used to limit person-to-person interaction, prevent queuing, notify patients of new protocols, launch patient engagement campaigns, and can even be used for contactless payments.

          In a time of crisis, consumers want to simplify their communication channels and use what they know best, which is texting.

          Text-to-Pay: Quick. Easy. Simple.

          Providing patients with more options, specifically more ways to pay, adds to the patient experience in a better way and adds to the value they are receiving.

          Text-to-Pay is simple, it’s speedy, and it’s what patients actually prefer. Mobile payments increase the speed to payment and the convenience factor that so many patients today expect.

          In fact, a 2017 report found that 80% of patients prefer to pay their provider from their mobile phones.  Patients love Text-to-Pay because it is a contactless payment solution for managing their medical bills. It’s easy to use and yields fast results.

          It has a 98% open rate and it’s a great way to connect to patients on a channel they’re likely to prefer. Response rates for texts are almost 40% higher than response rates for emails.

          When patients receive payment options quickly, not only do they save time, but their frustration is reduced, resulting in a patient experience that is more satisfying.

          Therefore, the best healthcare providers offer conveniences like online appointment scheduling, mobile bill payment, live chat, and other personalized and customized touch points along the patient journey.

          Happier patients mean increased referrals, more word of mouth, patient loyalty, and respect in the community.  Learn more about Mnet’s Text-to-Pay solution and increase your top-of-line revenue: https://mnethealth.com/text-to-pay/


          About Mnet Health

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare. Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          Benefits of Mnet's 1st Party Patient Billing Solutions

          As patient payments continue to take up a larger share of provider revenue, healthcare executives need to deploy new strategies and build better financial experiences to increase patient collections and improve patient billing solutions.

          The pandemic has magnified many of the challenges patients face when it comes to paying for their healthcare.

          An unprecedented number of patients are now facing new financial pressures.

          Many are struggling with job loss or disruption, leaving millions of Americans without health insurance due to unemployment. Even those employed are thinking about job security and how they would cover the costs of themselves or a loved one getting sick.

          Patients are now approaching their health and finances with new levels of urgency and concern.

          With an increasing number of patients engaging in self-pay because of high deductible health plans and the pandemic aftermath, many healthcare providers are struggling to collect from patients.

          Self-pay accounts have their own associated risks. The cost to collect could reach up to three times higher than on commercial insurance accounts.

          The longer a self-pay balance goes unpaid, the harder it is to collect it.

          At the same time, the pandemic created a huge backlog of unresolved claim denials and ballooning 30, 60, 90, and 120-day accounts receivable buckets.

          Handling this backlog in addition to current caseloads can become very challenging for healthcare providers resulting in problems collecting accounts.

          By utilizing Mnet’s first-party patient billing services, many healthcare facilities have realized better account collections, better cash flow, and better debt management.

          At Mnet, we believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy to navigate financial experience in healthcare. This is why working with Mnet, healthcare providers were able to increase collections while improving the patient experience.

          Here are the benefits of Mnet’s first-party patient billing solutions:

          1) Dramatically Increase Collections and Cash Flow While Reducing Bad Debt

          The goal of our first-party billing services (early-out) is to increase cash flow and resolve accounts receivable before they are written off to bad debt.

          From insurance balances to self-pay, our first-party patient billing services are designed to be a true extension of your billing office, providing the highest customer service and improving the patient experience.

          For example, utilizing Mnet’s 1st Party Patient Billing Solutions, one surgical hospital reduced their bad debt by $1.1 million and increased patient collections to $1.86 million in the first year alone (a 121% increase!).

          Patient Billing Solutions

          2) Improve the Patient Financial Experience

          Patients today are looking for straightforward and supportive conversations about their healthcare costs and payments. They want prompt resolution of their inquiries.

          They are also particularly receptive to exploring options and payment plans that could help them find a path forward with the care they need.

          Mnet helps providers tap into the consumer-driven mindset of today’s patients, empowering them to take charge of their financial situation.

          For a seamless extension of a facility’s business office, Mnet’s 1st party patient billing provides the following:

          • Integration with the patient accounting system and merchant services provider
          • Dedicated patient billing service center available nights & weekends catering to over 200 languages
          • Daily inbound and outbound patient communications
          • Payment Monitoring
          • Custom online patient portals and mobile Text-to-Pay solutions

          These solutions help patients speak with live agents, set-up approved payment plans, or select from additional financial services to settle their balance.

          Implementing these solutions will reflect your facility’s high regard for every patient’s concern, ensuring that professional help is promptly available regardless of the nature of their query.

          3) Reduce Patient Complaints

          Mnet offers providers Patient Financial Advocates as part of our patient billing solutions. Often a slight nudge or a simple explanation is all that is necessary to resolve past-due accounts.

          With Mnet’s patient financial advocates, your employees won’t have to make those difficult calls with patients.

          Having accurate account information also better serves patients and reduces delayed payments over bill confusion. Patient financial advocates “educate” patients on what they owe for treatment and why they owe this amount whether in advance of receiving care (providing an estimate) or even aftercare.

          Mnet has learned that patients will be much more likely to pay if patient financial advocates reach out and explain their bill and answer patients’ questions about their financial responsibility.

          Before we offer financing or payment plans or anything else — we offer to explain their balance!

          This has been key to Mnet’s huge success in helping patients pay their medical bills.

          4) Employees Can Focus More on Other Tasks

          Time and resources that were formerly tied up with billing and collecting payments can now be spent on patient care, patient scheduling, or ramping up case volumes.

          It will also allow your employees to focus on payer accounts. This division of responsibility equates to faster recovery on both types of accounts receivable (AR)—payer accounts and self-pay accounts.

          Mnet’s focus is to increase recovery across patient billing which will significantly reduce bad debt—less to write off each month.

          The process of billing and collections can be time consuming and frustrating for healthcare providers – especially when they should be focusing that time and energy on providing quality care and outstanding patient experience.


          About Mnet Health

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare. Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          Telehealth Reimbursement Laws

          Telehealth Reimbursement Laws and Trends in the Surgical Space

          Continued telehealth reimbursement is at the top of mind for surgery centers and healthcare providers recently.

          Thanks to new reimbursement policies and payment parity, providers have been able to implement telehealth and other digital health services during this public health emergency.

          Telehealth Before COVID

          Telehealth Before Covid
          Telehealth Before Covid

          Telehealth technology or telemedicine has been around for more than 50 years. However, it was largely underutilized.

          According to a McKinsey report, consumer adoption of telehealth in the US was only 11% in 2019.

          Reimbursement uncertainty was considered one of the biggest barriers to widespread telehealth adoption according to 77% of physician respondents in a 2019 survey.

          Medicare had strict rules when it came to reimbursement for telehealth. Patients had to live in a designated rural area and travel to a special facility for their telehealth appointments.

          This created financial and mobility difficulties especially for surgical patients as many were forced to travel not only for their actual surgery but also for their preoperative and postoperative recovery visits.

          Telehealth During and After COVID

          Telehealth After Covid
          Telehealth After Covid

          Everything changed due to the pandemic. Covid-19 accelerated telehealth adoption.

          Consumer adoption in the US skyrocketed to 46 percent in 2020 to replace cancelled healthcare visits. Providers are now seeing 50 to 175 times more patients via telehealth since the pandemic started.

          The CARES Act expanded telehealth coverage for Medicare, which became a turning point for virtual care. Providers could now collect Medicare reimbursement for telehealth visits provided in the home.

          Nearly 1.7 million beneficiaries had received telehealth services in the last week of April 2020 compared with just approximately 13,000 in an average week pre-pandemic.

          As patients demand the convenience and safety of virtual visits, this trend will likely continue.

          Frost & Sullivan predicts the telehealth market will see a sevenfold growth rate by 2025.

          How Surgery Centers Are Using Telehealth

          Telehealth Surgery Centers
          Telehealth Surgery Centers

          At the beginning of the pandemic, telemedicine was the only thing that brought income to some surgical practices. But now, it is used as a practice-builder.

          By utilizing telemedicine before surgery, surgeons can evaluate patients and gather their history. After surgery, surgeons also use telehealth to provide postoperative care.

          Telemedicine can prepare patients by answering questions, such as how to set up their house for after surgery and ensuring that they are physically and mentally prepared.

          In ASCs, a lot of time is spent going over pre- and post-op instructions which can be done via telehealth.

          Many ASCs have found that in telehealth visits, patients are better able to make more informed decisions because they’re not rushed or struggling to understand someone who’s wearing a mask.

          For example, one eye surgeon would typically see between 30 to 40 patients in clinic for post-op evaluations the day after surgery. With telemedicine, most of those patients can all be seen in just about 30 minutes.

          Telehealth Reimbursement Laws

          The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its 2021 Final Rule (Physician Fee Schedule) with bold telehealth policy changes designed to expand the use of telehealth technologies among Medicare beneficiaries.

          Many of the expanded telehealth services it is covering due to COVID-19 will now be permanently covered after the pandemic. CMS is adding more than 60 services to the Medicare telehealth list that will continue to be covered beyond the end of the public health emergency.

          It will also continue to gather more data and evaluate whether more services should be added in the future. For a list of covered telehealth services during this public health emergency, please refer to this resource: https://www.facs.org/-/media/files/covid19/current_phe_telehealth_codes.ashx

          Some of the most impactful telehealth policy changes in 2021 include:

          • Direct Supervision via Telehealth: Until December 31, 2021, or the end of the public health emergency (whichever is later), “direct supervision” under 42 C.F.R. § 410.21 can now be provided using real-time, interactive audio-video technology.
          • Extended Audio-Only Assessment: CMS created HCPCS code G2252 for extended services delivered via synchronous communications technology, including audio-only (e.g., virtual check-ins). G2252 is cross walked to CPT code 99442 for reimbursement purposes, making its reimbursement higher than the current more limited duration virtual check-in code.

          As the federal government led the charge in implementing Medicare flexibilities for telehealth, several states have also followed course enacting their own laws.

          Several states passed recent laws that would require commercial insurance plans to cover more telehealth services on a permanent basis.

          According to a recent report from law firm Foley and Lardner, the number of states with laws addressing reimbursement of telehealth services increased from 16 states in 2019 to 22 states in 2020, with 14 of those states now requiring insurers to pay the same amount for telehealth visits as in-person visits.

          The passing of these laws serves to more permanently bolster coverage and ensure patient access to telehealth services during the pandemic and in the long-term.


          About Mnet Health

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare. Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          Write off Accounts

          Why Healthcare Facilities Need to Write Off Accounts to Collections Even During Covid

          The pandemic brought a financial onslaught to every healthcare organization. Many providers have been hit hard financially, with their revenue cycle landscape significantly changed.

          Given the job losses during the pandemic, an estimated 3.5 million people will become uninsured according to the Urban Land Institute.

          A 2020 Kaufman Hall survey of hospital executives revealed that nearly half of respondents have seen bad debt, uncompensated care, and self-pay patients increase since the start of the pandemic.

          Providers are already experiencing increased difficulties in collecting payments from newly uninsured and other patients.

          Many providers are now implementing changes in their patient collections and bad debt, making the process not only more efficient but also more patient-focused and compassionate.

          Effects of Covid-19 on Patient Collections at Healthcare Facilities

          According to a recent survey by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), 88% of healthcare providers indicate that COVID-19 has impacted their approach to patient collections in some way. For example:

          • 70% of healthcare providers have increased patient payment options
          • 74% have adjusted bad debt placement timing
          • 61% have delayed credit reporting

          Providers are also allowing patients to extend payment terms and delay payments. They are also increasing resources dedicated to financial assistance like patient financial advocates to initiate more patient contact and outreach.

          They are also increasing charity care write-offs, expediting presumptive charity care programs and moving more bad debt into charity care.

          We have also found that some providers feel reluctant or don’t want to write off accounts to collections because of the pandemic.

          Why is it still a good idea to write off accounts even during Covid-19?

          With economic uncertainty, patients are facing challenging financial times. Compassionate customer service and patient-friendly solutions are essential, especially as many patients struggle with the anxiety of the unknown.

          However, healthcare facilities must remain focused on key revenue cycle functions, such as patient collections, so they can bring in funds and remain financially viable.

          1. Patients have positive sentiments toward healthcare providers.

          During the pandemic, patients have shown a positive sentiment toward healthcare providers. Patients are showing their gratitude for hard-working medical professionals and frontline workers by paying their financial responsibility.

          Consumers may have more than one debtor to whom they owe money. This is not a time to go dark with your patients.

          Let them know exactly what the situation is so they can plan accordingly.

          Patients have demonstrated a willingness to pay their outstanding balances despite other financial obligations they may have. This shows the value they place on healthcare services.

          Mnet’s experience has been that we have received more thanks and appreciation for the medical staff who attended them in our calls with patients.

          2. Consider the long-term financial health of your facility.

          Healthcare facilities need to be financially strong in order to serve their patients and their employees.

          Collections are often the last thing anyone wants to do.  However, getting paid is how your facility keeps cash flow coming in and operational.

          Suspending billing for 30 or 60 days, forgiving a monthly payment, or putting on hold the placement of accounts to collections are commendable short-term strategies for patient collections.

          These efforts show compassion and understanding to patients’ current situations, but they are not viable in the long term.

          Facilities need the cash flow to reinvest in their healthcare systems and communities so that patients can get, and pay for, the care they need.

          The longer the account stays in your A/R, the harder and more expensive it is to collect it. If this continues for a significant period, your facility would face a mountain wave of delinquencies.

          3. Medical collection accounts are treated differently in credit reporting.

          During these uncertain times, more patients want to protect their credit. Nearly one-half of Americans (48%) are concerned the virus-induced recession would impact their credit score, according to a Harris Poll.

          However, not all debt is created equal. Medical bills are treated differently than other bills sent to collections as medical debt is treated more leniently in credit scoring.

          • Less weight: Newer scoring models such as FICO 9 and VantageScore 4.0 weigh medical collections less than other types of collections.
          • Grace period: The three credit bureaus must wait 180 days before listing medical debt on credit reports. This grace period gives patients time to settle payment before the debt affects their credit scores.
          • Removed once paid: While most collections remain on credit report for seven years, medical debt is removed once it has been paid or is being paid by insurance.

          4. Patients are using their stimulus checks to pay debt.

          A survey by Money Done Right and Google Consumer Surveys showed that 43 percent of Americans plan to use their stimulus money to pay off debt.

          At the same time, banks are ramping up credit management capabilities to help support consumers weather the financial aftermath of the global pandemic.

          Consumers are changing their behavior as they spend less on vacationing and eating out. Instead, they are using their money to pay down debt and keep their credit lines open.

          During this pandemic, Mnet has found that more patients paid in full, made larger payments and established payment plans.  Mnet saw an increase in total patient payment by 1.6% compared to the period prior to Covid-19.

          During these uncertain times, your facility’s commitment and approach to meeting patients where they are financially will build loyalty long after the pandemic is over.


          About Mnet Health

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare. Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          Mnet Patient Pain Points

          3 Significant Pain Points Patients Have About Medical Bills

          One of the significant impacts of the pandemic is the increase in healthcare consumerism. Job loss due to the pandemic caused many to lose their job-based insurance coverage, leading patients to have pain points surrounding their medical bills.

          This year, as patients continue to have an increasing amount of financial responsibility for their care, they become more discerning shoppers and expect more convenience and better experiences.

          According to TransUnion’s second annual patient survey, 49% of survey respondents reported the current economy has influenced how they seek medical care to some extent.

          It is clear that the global pandemic has changed the way we live. It has also made a significant impact on what consumers are choosing in terms of their purchasing behavior and payment options.

          Patients now demand greater transparency around prices and billing. They also research healthcare decisions online — from health questions to online reviews, before moving on to selecting a provider.

          Patients don’t fully understand their financial responsibility

          On Jan. 1, a new regulation kicked in requiring hospitals to publish payer-specific negotiated rates for 70 stipulated services and 230 others online.

          With hospitals posting negotiated rates online, patients will now be able to compare charges and open a dialogue between their physicians about cost discrepancies.

          However, patients still won’t know what they’re paying out of pocket. What they really need to understand is what the impact is to their financial responsibility—their copay and deductible —which is often complicated by in-network and out-of-network billing.

          The negotiated rates won’t give the patient any idea where other expenses may come from, such as anesthesia or surgeon fees.

          According to a TransUnion survey, while the number of patients receiving clear cost estimates did increase from 2019, TransUnion found only 52% of respondents completely understood their financial responsibility for their recent medical bill.

          Patients are more concerned about billing than the quality of care

          Patient Concerned
          Patient Concerned

          As discerning shoppers, consumers expect more from the patient experience that their providers are delivering. However, they are often more concerned about medical billing than the quality of care they receive, according to a 2020 Waystar survey.

          Complex billing processes keep patients from understanding exactly how much they owe. Medical bills are so confusing that patients are ultimately more concerned about the bill than about the care they receive.

          According to the Waystar survey, 52% of respondents stated that they were either slightly (25%) or significantly (27%) more stressed about their medical bills than about care.

          Patients need upfront financial communication

          Mnet Financial Communication
          Mnet Financial Communication

          Poor financial experience seriously affects a provider’s bottom line as patients delay payments or even don’t want to return, hurting the whole revenue cycle.

          Late payments from are in large part due to confusion over the bill and who owes what.

          The Waystar survey revealed that 48% of respondents have been late on a medical bill payment due to the following reasons:

          • Couldn’t pay due to financial reasons – 51%
          • Assumed insurance would cover – 37%
          • Unclear how much is owed – 19%
          • The bill was incorrect – 18%
          • Forgot to pay – 16%
          • Wasn’t sure when payment was due – 13%

          When asked what would help them better understand their medical bills, 46% of patients answered they need an upfront explanation detailing what their insurance will pay.

          In addition, 42% of respondents also shared that a clearer explanation of what is owed compared to what their insurance will cover, would make it easier for them to pay their bills on time.

          As healthcare consumerism is on the rise, patients will expect more convenience in ways to pay and also better financial experience.

          Providers can get ahead of the game when they have patient financial advocates or counselors who give patients out-of-pocket estimates for the facility fee, the surgeon, assistant, and implant fees, as well as provide estimates on other potential bills such as anesthesia, pathology, etc.

          Patient financial advocates can also provide upfront financial communication to patients so they know what to expect and understand their financial responsibility.


          About Mnet Health

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare. Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          Surprise Medical Billing

          3 Things You Need to Know About Surprise Medical Bills

          Surprise medical billing is a large issue being discussed across the country.

          If you have insurance, you would probably call the hospital or your insurer first to make sure the hospital was “in network” with your insurance.

          You might also need to double-check that the surgeon who will be operating on you is in-network, too.

          But even if you do your homework before your elective surgery, you can still be at risk of receiving large bills you never would have expected, from providers you’ve never met or even knew about.

          According to a recent JAMA study, surprise bills happen about a fifth of the time that a patient has an elective surgery at an in-network hospital with an in-network surgeon.

          The average unexpected charge of about $2,000 more than what insurance would typically pay can hurt anyone, especially vulnerable populations.

          What is Surprise Medical Billing?

          Surprise medical billing occurs when a patient receives a larger-than-expected medical bill due to their care provider being out-of-network.

          In most situations, the patient is not aware that they received out-of-network care so it comes as surprising. It typically occurs in the following scenarios:

          • Emergency care situations and nonsurgical hospital stays, when patients may not be able to choose health care providers covered by their insurance.
          • An out-of-network provider renders service to a patient at an in-network hospital.
          • In situations with surgical complications as the procedure grows more complex, more people get involved in treating it and one or a few might be out of network.

          Most of the surprise bills come from either anesthesiologists or surgical assistants — who are typically not chosen by patients. They could also come from out-of-network pathologists, who analyze tissue and blood samples, or radiologists, who examine X-rays and MRIs.

          How Do Patients View Surprise Medical Bills?

          Surprise medical billing is leaving patients all over the country with large unexpected medical expenses, sometimes totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

          According to a new study by Yale researchers, addressing the issue could reduce health spending by 3.4% which translates to $40 billion annually.

          Many patients view surprise medical billing as an unfair and unjust practice in the medical community. Surprise medical billing often leads to financial hardship for patients who are not prepared to pay the large sum.

          Most often, this unexpected medical cost falls in their lap after unplanned emergency care. When a patient enters the emergency department, they are not considering that a doctor, whom they do not know, would be out-of-network in a hospital they know to be in-network.

          Legislation To End Surprise Medical Bills in 2021? 

          After several years of working to enact a ban on surprise medical billing, Congress included the “No Surprises Act,” in the end-of-year legislation.

          The omnibus spending and COVID relief bill signed by President Donald Trump on December 27 included a measure to prevent patients from being billed by out-of-network doctors after treatment in an in-network hospital.

          The legislation bans surprise medical billing for emergency and nonemergency care.

          Patients are only required to pay to the in-network cost-sharing, including any applicable co-payment, coinsurance and deductible for out-of-network emergency medical care at in-network facilities.

          For nonemergency care, patient-informed consent is required for patients to be balance billed.

          The legislation also establishes an arbitration process for resolving out-of-network provider claims to be paid by health plans. There is a 30-day open negotiation period for providers and payers to settle out-of-network claims.

          Hopefully with this legislation, patients would no longer have to fight these surprise medical bills at the same time they are facing a medical crisis.


          About Mnet Health

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare. Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          Upcoming ASC Trends in 2021

          Upcoming Trends ASCs Need to Watch Out For In 2021

          As we delve into the new year, now is a good time for surgical facilities to look ahead to the upcoming top trends facing the ASC industry.

          With the pandemic, ASCs across the U.S. have experienced temporary closures, case drops, and then ramp-up and recovery.

          ASCs have reported a 30 percent or more revenue drop, with many reporting more than 50 percent revenue decline.

          Since 2021 arrived, forward-looking ASC leaders are now preparing their teams for what could come next.

          Despite challenges brought on by the pandemic, the outlook for ASCs is bright.

          CMS Outpatient Payment Rule for 2021

          CMS finalized the Outpatient Prospective Payment System and ASC Payment System final rule on Dec. 2. Here are some takeaways to the 1,312-page final rule:

          On average across all covered procedures, ASCs will see a payment rate update of 2.4 percent. The final update applies to ASCs meeting relevant quality reporting requirements. The update rate for specific codes and specialties, however, may vary significantly.

          Under the revised criteria for adding procedures to the ASC-payable list, CMS will also include 267 surgical procedures in 2021.

          The public will also be able to suggest future additions to the ASC-covered procedures list (CPL) under a new notification process CMS is establishing.

          When the final rules took effect Jan. 1, 2021, CMS began  eliminating the inpatient-only list by removing 298 primarily musculoskeletal-related services.

          By calendar year 2024, the full list of 1,700 procedures will be completely phased out and approved for payment in the outpatient setting when clinically appropriate.

          Staff Safety Becomes Top Priority

          Right now, ASCs are prioritizing the safety of patients and staff by following the latest pandemic guidelines.

          ASCs will continue to follow measures and leverage technology to keep patients and staff safe from COVID-19 exposure in 2021. A single positive case among employees could quickly put others in isolation.

          In a worst-case scenario, understaffed surgery centers would have to cancel cases or temporarily close.

          This is why many ASC leaders have used the pandemic to drill down policies and focus on the safety of patients and staff.

          Many ASCs have created healthcare screeners and put in extra effort in infection control, screening, and sanitizing during the pandemic.

          Surgery centers have also used technologies like contactless payments, telemedicine, and online patient scheduling not just for efficiency but for safety. One benefit in doing this is that surgical facilities will be able to highlight the cost, efficiency and safety of procedures performed at their centers.

          ASCs Become the Preferred Site for Outpatient Surgical Procedures

          The movement of outpatient procedures to ASCs has been going on for a while, but the pandemic has accelerated that.

          Higher acuity case volume will continue to shift from the inpatient setting, further cementing the ASC as the low-cost, efficient alternative to the hospital setting.

          Due to the pandemic, more patients, payers and physicians recognize outpatient surgery centers as the most desirable setting for quality care.

          There’s a real awareness and demand amongst patients as they perceive hospitals as potentially risky.

          With ASCs, patients get their surgery at a site that studies have shown to be safer and for a third of the price.

          The COVID situation has really accelerated and driven demand to the ASCs.

          After reaping these benefits with procedures done at ASCs during the pandemic, more patients are expected to request treatment at surgery centers in the future.

          In 2021, it is expected that patients will routinely request to have their surgeries done in ASCs rather than in hospitals.

          Patient Payment Plans Would Be More Common

          The increasing healthcare financial responsibility being shifted to patients is giving rise to new financing models for ASCs.

          Many patients have voiced economic concerns related to their surgery. This could provide ample opportunity for ASCs to develop more robust financial planning capabilities for their patients.

          With many people experiencing financial strain now due to the pandemic, patient payment plans are becoming more common.

          Patient payment plans can increase patient propensity to pay by distributing large deductible and coinsurance costs into affordable installments over time.

          Proactive surgical facilities would identify a patient’s current financial situation and engage them with personalized payment plan offers pre- and post-service. This would enable patients to self-activate payment arrangements that meet their needs.

          As ASCs would rather focus on their core competencies of providing high-quality outpatient surgical care, we would see many surgery centers partner with third-party RCM vendors to take the risk of self-pay patients.

          In 2021, we will be seeing more third-party organizations paying the ASC for the patient’s responsibility. The third party then takes on the responsibility of collecting the balance from the patient.

          Leveling of the Playing Field Between ASCs and Hospital Outpatient Departments

          There’s a wide reimbursement gap between ASCs and hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs).

          Since CMS didn’t address this gap in its final rule for 2021, ASCs will continue fighting to eliminate the differential.

          The 2020 election saw some losses of ASCs’ long-time champions in the House. But almost 90 percent of ASC supporters have retained their seats including the sponsors and original cosponsor of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Quality and Access Act of 2019.

          The Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality and Access Act of 2019 seeks to modernize payments for ambulatory surgical centers under the Medicare program. Its provisions would enact a series of reforms aimed at leveling the playing field between ASCs and hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs).

          These reforms include updating reimbursement for ASC services using the same update factor as HOPDs and adding an ASC representative to the Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment.


          About Mnet Health

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare. Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          SSM & Mnet Partnership

          Mnet Health Announced Today a Strategic Growth Investment from Memphis-based SSM Partners

          Mnet Health announced today a strategic growth investment from Memphis-based SSM Partners. This investment by SSM will provide resources to accelerate continued product development and market expansion on its mission to ensure every patient has a helpful, transparent, and easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare.

          ALISO VIEJO, CALIFORNIA (PRWEB) JANUARY 28, 2021

          Mnet Health, the premier provider of patient billing solutions for surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers, announced today a strategic growth investment from Memphis-based SSM Partners, a growth equity with extensive experience investing in ever-expanding revenue cycle management and healthcare information technology companies.

          This investment by SSM will provide Mnet Health with resources to accelerate continued product development and market expansion on its mission to ensure every patient has a helpful, transparent, and easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare. In conjunction with the strategic growth investment, Jim Lackey, former CEO of other successful revenue cycle companies and SSM investments Passport Health Communications and Complete Holdings Group/Enablecomp, will join Mnet as Executive Chairman to support the management team as an adviser.

          We are excited to partner with SSM to continue the strong growth we have experienced and expand our mission to help more patients pay.

          “We are thrilled to partner with SSM to continue the strong growth we have experienced and expand our mission to help more patients pay,” said David Hamilton, CEO of Mnet Health. “SSM Partners and Jim Lackey combine their years of experience in revenue cycle and healthcare with a focus on building great teams. We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare. Mnet is eager to capitalize on this level of experience and cultural alignment to build our team and expand our unparalleled offering to provide increased collections for providers and satisfaction to patients.”

          “This is a company that is first and foremost about people,” said Jim Lackey. “I am looking forward to supporting this team as they continue to grow and serve patients and their providers.”

          “Mnet stands out for its patient-centered approach to revenue cycle management,” said Casey West, Managing Partner at SSM Partners. “Our hats are off to David Hamilton and team for the fantastic business they’ve built. We could not be more excited to partner with David and the rest of the Mnet team in their mission to help more patients pay.”

          View this press release on prweb: click here

           

          ABOUT MNET

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare. Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.

           

          ABOUT SSM PARTNERS
          SSM invests in rapidly growing companies within the fields of software, services, and healthcare. The growth equity has partnered with talented entrepreneurs for more than 20 years. Starting with a relationship built on trust, SSM makes strategic growth investments and offers its partners a thorough understanding of the growth company lifecycle and a collaborative approach to building great businesses. For more information, please visit https://www.ssmpartners.com.


          Lauren Illescas, COO

          Mnet Health Announces Chief Operating Officer, Lauren Illescas

          Mnet appoints former VP of Operations, Lauren Illescas, to COO after being with the company for ten years.

          ALISO VIEJO, CALIFORNIA, JANUARY 20, 2021 Mnet Health today announced that Vice President Lauren Illescas has been appointed Chief Operating Officer, a new position within Mnet. Mrs. Illescas has previously run operations within Mnet including strategic implementation of services and products.

          “Lauren has demonstrated leadership and success in executing strategies that are key to our belief that every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy to navigate financial experience. She is uniquely qualified to drive strategic prioritization and accountability within Mnet, with a laser-focus on operational excellence. I look forward to being able to have Lauren’s skill, expertise and approach to business more broadly extended across the organization” said David Hamilton founder and CEO of Mnet Health.

          Effective immediately, Illescas will assume responsibility for collection operations, back end service, vendor alignment and product strategy. Illescas will be responsible for the team alignment and prioritization of company development and ensuring operational excellence across the company.

          “I am thrilled for this opportunity with Mnet as we continue to build a superior service offering for our valued clients. I strongly believe that Mnet’s focus on helping patients pay is as important as ever, and I look forward to helping our team achieve higher goals as we continue to execute Mnet’s exciting growth strategy,” said Mrs. Illescas.

          Prior to this appointment, Illescas was responsible for leading the overall execution for Mnet. In that role, her team of employees was comprised of production managers and their respective teams who focus on optimizing the patient financial experience for Mnet’s clients. Services at Mnet have over $1 billion in receivables under management.

          To read the original press release on PRweb, click here.

          About Mnet Health

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare. Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          OKC Call Center Hub

          Mnet Health Makes Choice for Call Center Hub

          When looking across the United States, it might be easy to overlook Oklahoma City when thinking about a place to build a new call center hub.  OKC is just a two-hour drive from Dallas/Fort Worth; not just the big city, but a giant city really…and when you talk about call center jobs in healthcare, it might be easy to see it as the natural choice.  That is, of course, until you give a little thought to what it is that you’re looking for in potential employees.

          At Mnet, we wanted very professional candidates who would give our patients a first-class experience when it comes to paying for their medical services.  OKC has a huge population of extremely professional candidates.  We wanted a workforce that had an extremely high standard of ethics; we found that OKC has many candidates with a superior level of work ethics who hold themselves to the highest level of accountability possible.  We also wanted to build a hub in a place where potential candidates would fit into our culture, which is known as “Happy, Honest, Humble and Hungry.”  OKC as a city really seems to identify with all our four main attributes for a great cultural fit.

          We have found that most of the people we have met from OKC have a friendly, southwestern attitude and are very easy to talk to.  Graciousness seems to be a given and those that we have met have been very kind and helpful to us (and those we have hired have gone on to be both kind and gracious to our patients as well).  We also really appreciate that the OKC style of speech has a bit of a southern drawl because this style of speaking is very disarming to our patients and lets them know that our representatives are willing to and even happy to spend some time with them and work through their issue.

          Another draw for us to Oklahoma City is that the cost of living is a bit less there than it is in some of the bigger cities throughout the country.  As a company, we still pay the same wages that we would pay at our headquarters in California, so, this means that employees of our hub are making more money to start out with than they might at other local companies and have the opportunities to make greater bonuses and commissions.

          A higher pay schedule can mean a higher standard of living for those working in our OKC hub and although money doesn’t buy happiness, it can definitely make living a little easier, and this is one of our favorite things about our hub in OKC; people can make decent money and have a better quality of life.  Our full-time employees also qualify for a full benefits package with medical, dental and vision as well a group 401k program that all are encouraged to join.

          So, to review, why did Mnet choose Oklahoma City when we were looking at an area to build a hub?  We wanted candidates who were highly professional and who held themselves to a higher ethical standard.  We wanted candidates who fit into our culture; people who were happy, honest, humble and hungry as well.  We needed people who were friendly, kind and easy to talk to and also wanted representatives who could speak graciously to our patients and also had a disarming style of speech and who were willing to take the time to help each patient with their individual issue as well.

          Lastly, we wanted to pick an area with a less expensive cost of living so that the wages we pay would help our representatives to have a higher quality of life.  We have certainly found that all our requirements have been met by opening a hub in Oklahoma City.  We really couldn’t be more pleased with our new hub and are so grateful that we’ve been welcomed with open arms.


          About Mnet Health

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare.

          Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          Final CFPB Rule

          Final CFPB Debt Rule Puts Consumers in the Driver's Seat

          The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued the final rule to update Regulation F October 30, which implements the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

          The 653-page final rule from the CFPB allows debt collectors to interact with consumers across all forms of electronic communications.

          Set to take effect in fall 2020, the CFPB rules will have a significant impact on the healthcare payments landscape for healthcare providers with third-party debt collectors and their patients.

          Pursuing a digital transformation strategy then becomes not a matter of “if” but “when.”

          The one-year implementation period provides an opportunity to assess the regulations, then, compare with existing processes and determine whether gaps exist.

          It is also a perfect opportunity to serve the consumer better. It is high time to determine how best to implement a digital strategy that will improve patient financial experience.

          The patient collections vertical is one that is ripe for digital transformation. 90% of patient collections are still mostly paper-based, according to a recent study.

          Due to the pandemic, hospitals and healthcare systems also lost an average of $50.7 billion per month. This was just in the US alone from months March through June.

          Need for Smarter Approach in Patient Collections

          As more healthcare bills go to patients themselves, many health systems find their existing patient collections strategies fall short.

          Today’s patient collections challenges call for a smarter approach.

          Traditional solutions are built to collect from insurance companies and not directly from patients. Providers are exposed to an unpredictable financial landscape where their revenue cycle rests on their patients’ ability to pay.

          According to a report by Aite Group, of the 15.5 billion bills that Americans paid last year, 406.4 million were medical bills totaling $86.4 billion in overall spending—not including copayments.

          The report also revealed that medical bills were taking up more of a consumer’s paycheck.

          Healthcare organizations have experienced disruption and difficulty due to the pandemic. The changes stemming from COVID-19 are shaping up to be significant and long-lasting.

          Organizations are using this time to make a true change in their patient collections. This makes the process more efficient but also inherently more patient-focused and compassionate.

          The same report by Aite Group also found that significant changes are taking place in the way Americans pay bills. These include more digital payments and an overall increase in credit card and debit card spending.

          Capturing Consumer Preference

          The final rule from the CFPB creates a series of opportunities for consumers to drive the method by which they wish to communicate about their debts.

          Consumers can initiate communication on their own using their preferred methods of communication (traditional or electronic).

          They can also opt in or out of a series of choices, knowing they can always make changes late. These include returning to standards methods like snail mail and telephone calls.

          Technology will also be critical in electronic communications as debt collectors need to consider a lot of things like:

          • Capturing consumer preference on telephone calls, in letters, emails, self-service portals, text messages, website ‘contact us’ pages, voicemails, and in response to artificial voice prompts.
          • Enabling staff to capture and update consumers’ consents, opt ins, and opt outs to assure they can pivot to keep up with consumers’ preferences.
          • Being able to access accurate information quickly to ensure that the time, place, and manner of communication with the consumer, at any given time, align with consumer expectations. Collectors will simply not have time to scroll within account histories to ensure that specific consumer outreach, whether outbound or inbound, is compliant.
          • Being able to limit communications so that they are not delivered at either inconvenient times or in an inconvenient manner
          • Allowing consumers to express a preference about whether to be communicated with at a place of employment

          Effective Digital Communication Strategy to Boost Digital Payments

          The final rule from CFPB focuses on how the protections of the FDCPA apply to modern digital communication formats such as email, text, and social media messages.

          Debt collectors are explicitly allowed to use all forms of electronic communications to contact consumers. They can do so by email, text message, or social media messages.

          However, in a 2019 survey, half of healthcare consumers are frustrated with their provider’s patient billing and collections processes. It is even more frustrating for those that are not digital yet.

          Thus, having a digital strategy and using the right technologies allows your organization to achieve the intent and purpose of this regulation.

          Just like in the financial and retail industry, healthcare providers are expected to drive consumers to them and offer self-serve options.

          This means robust online portals that allow patients to make payments, review account history information, balances, and payment histories. This also means exploring repayment alternatives, and more importantly, set their preferences.

          Patients are accustomed to receiving text notifying them of upcoming bills. Just one click of a button and it explains to them what that bill is for, how much it is, and how to make a payment.

          Effective digital communications can help patients avoid surprise bills and check their coverage. It will also help patients get onto the right payment plan or charity program, if appropriate.

          When it’s easy for patients to pay, balances will be cleared more promptly.

          Providers and third-party debt collectors will need to foster more long-term patient relationships to improve their patient collections.

          Patient collections strategies must also be more flexible to accommodate evolving patient needs and CFPB rules. This became ever more prevalent during this pandemic and its effects are rolling over into 2021.


          About Mnet Health

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare.

          Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          New CFPB Rules

          Adapting Your Patient Financial Communications to New CFPB Rules

          The new rules for debt collection are finally here. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued last October the final rule to revise Regulation F, which implements the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

          Passed in 1977, the FDCPA is silent on collection agencies’ use of e-communications because they simply didn’t exist at that time.

          The CFPB’s 653-page final rule updates Regulation F, allowing debt collectors to interact with consumers across all forms of electronic communications.

          For the first time, the CFPB rules give debt collectors explicit permission to use a wide range of communication methods to interact with consumers for collections, including text, email, and social media messaging.

          It took more than seven years and over 14,000 comments from consumer advocates, debt collectors, and other stakeholders in developing the CFPB final rule.

          The CFPB rule also becomes effective one year after it is published in the Federal Register.

          While the new rules set out some limitations, it also offers flexibility which both protects consumers and creates efficient resolution of debt.

          Contact Limits

          Nearly a third of Americans with a credit file have some type of debt that’s in collections, which typically means they’d receive phone calls about their outstanding balance.

          The new rules introduce a limit on the number of times debt collectors can communicate with consumers. Only 7 calls within a 7-day period are allowed for one debt and then once every 7 days after that.

          However, this limit is no longer a bright-line rule. While 7 or fewer calls is presumed lawful, this presumption can be rebutted by evidence of harassment.

          The rules also specify, however, that if a consumer tells a debt collector to “stop calling,” they are barred from calling them.

          As for electronic communications, there is no specific numerical limit. Instead, the standards of prohibitions on harassment and abuse apply.

          Consumer Preference Becomes King

          With the new rule, consumers are given the right to easily opt out of electronic messaging and designate their preferred method of contact.

          This gives consumers more control over how often and through what means debt collectors can communicate with them.

          For example, a consumer may choose to designate a particular medium, such as social media, as one that cannot be used for debt collection communications.

          Efficient Handoff to Collections

          Consumers can become confused when they get contacted by a company they don’t know and a telephone number they don’t recognize.

          One great concept introduced in the final rules is the concept of the handoff letter.

          Debt collectors can take advantage of the safe harbor against third-party disclosure by sending an email to a consumer at an email address that the consumer provided to the creditor.

          However, the creditor must have sent a handoff letter / communication to the consumer at least 35 days prior to the debt collector using that email address.

          The handoff letter must be sent by the creditor and must “clearly and conspicuously” disclose that the debt has or will be transferred to the debt collector.

          This method not only limits the risk of third-party disclosure, it also puts consumers on notice that someone other than the creditor will be contacting them, listing the name of the debt collector in question.

          This helps consumers be more comfortable and less likely to think that the communication is spam or fraud.

          Impact on Financial Communications

          Debt collectors say the new rules will make it easier for them to reach borrowers; consumer advocates fear it will unleash a surge of intrusive communications.

          There is a fine line in collections between reminding your patients of what they owe and harassing them. The FDCPA draws that line.

          For example, calling patients to remind them of their debts only during “reasonable” hours between 8 am and 9 pm.

          Now that debt collectors are explicitly allowed to communicate via text, email, or social media messaging, it should be in the context of improving the patient’s financial experience.

          Patients get texts all the time for their doctors’ appointments and reminders. This is why communicating with patients through their preferred method makes the debt collection experience smoother and better.

          If patients are contacted according to their preference, they are not caught off guard and they are more likely to be in a better state of mind.

          Patients are more likely to work toward payment with someone friendly, rather than with someone they find threatening.

          With millions of Americans financially struggling amid the economic fallout from the global pandemic, the last thing they need right now is to be harassed by a debt collector.


          About Mnet Health

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare.

          Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.


          Patient Centric Revenue Cycle

          How to Create a More Patient-Centric Revenue Cycle

          Patients have always been at the center of clinical care. But the same has not always been true on the business side of healthcare. Providers have traditionally relied on insurers for revenue, making patient billing only an afterthought.

          However, healthcare consumerism is transforming the business of healthcare by placing greater emphasis on patient collections and the patient financial experience.

          Today, over 35 percent of provider revenue now comes from patient payments – largely due to the shift in financial responsibility from employers to employees.

          Providers are relying more on their patients for revenue generation and collection, making the patient financial experience a top priority for business leaders.

          According to a 2018 survey, half of patients who reported having a negative billing department experience didn’t pay their bills in full due to complicated billing processes.

          When patients are confused and frustrated by healthcare payment systems, oftentimes the result is that they take longer to pay and are more prone to default.

          With the current Covid-19 pandemic, every industry is seeing drastic changes in how they operate their businesses – healthcare is no exception. The patient-centric approach, which has been constantly talked about but often rarely implemented, has now entered the spotlight.

          Patients are accustomed to typical retail consumer experiences that are digital, seamless, and very user-friendly.

          In a work-from-home world, having the right technological tools is critical to getting paid. Providers need to engage with patients to protect their bottom line and deliver a valuable experience to keep them coming back.

          Patients will leave a practice or provider for a competitor that offers a more patient-centric alternative. To thrive in the “new” economy, providers can no longer rely on the traditional business model.

          Here are 3 strategies to consider to become more patient-centric:

          1. Improve patient communication and interactions by having patient financial advocates 

          Providing patients with a view of their costs and responsibilities and then educating them on different options to meet them can make the patient payment process more customer-centric.

          By having patient financial advocates who can engage in financial conversations, your facility enables patients to be in the driver seat regarding their financial responsibilities, giving them choices and input on decisions around how they pay for care.

          In order to create a better financial experience, what all patients need is just a little bit of help.

          Before offering financing — before offering a payment plan — before offering a payment portal — offer first to explain their balance!

          Patients will be much more likely to pay this way. Patient financial advocates can help in many ways to provide a consumer-centric experience:

          • Educating patients on what they owe for treatment and why they owe this amount whether in advance of receiving care (providing an estimate) or even aftercare.
          • Answering patients’ questions and helping patients cover their financial responsibility, including offering payment plans and financing options to cover surgical costs.
          • Informing patients what things your facility can do to help them given their current situation.
          • Helping patients plan better and make more educated decisions about a path forward.

          Working with patients based on their actual needs will help create a positive financial relationship with them, thereby increasing patient loyalty and boosting collections performance.

          1. Utilize contactless payments, payment plans, and online payment portals

          Household consumer debt hit a new record in the first three months of 2020 at $14.3 trillion.

          With the economic fallout brought about by the pandemic, it is expected that all types of debt will continue to rise during the first quarter of 2021 in the United States.

          Online payment portals that allow patients to make self-serve payments, manage their accounts, and set-up payment plans have now become essential as the world transitions.

          A recent survey by BillingTree found that consumer payment portals saw the most significant increase in payment channels due to the pandemic.

          Patients can log on 24/7 to view easy-to-understand bills. They can pay bills for multiple services and procedures in one conveniently centralized place instantly and electronically – the same way they do at online retail websites.

          However, to be more patient-centric, providers need to be more flexible and allow patients to set up their own payment plans. A 2019 study by The Health Management Academy covering 180 hospitals in the top 20 US health systems found that while most health systems (82%) offer low or no interest payment plans to patients, only 41% of health systems stated that they provide self-select payment plans to their patients.

          Due to the pandemic, the fear of contact with contaminated surfaces has given a real boost to the use of contactless payments.

          With the pandemic-related acceleration towards digital, now is the pivotal moment for providers to add contactless payment solutions like Text-to-Pay to their digital pay offerings.

          1. Leverage patient-centered revenue cycle management (RCM) metrics

          The 2019 study by The Health Management Academy revealed that most health systems leverage traditional RCM metrics over patient-centered metrics. While a majority track online payments or patient satisfaction, less than half (41%) track more than two patient-centered metrics.

          Health system-centric metrics include: Net Collection Ratio, Claims Denial Rate, Time to Collect, Charge Lag, etc.

          Patient-centric metrics might include: Online/SMS Payments, Online Patient Portal Usage, Patient Satisfaction, Time to Bill, Self-Serve Payment Plans, etc.

          The traditional revenue cycle metrics focus on the financial wellbeing of their health system. To be more patient-centric, you need to integrate more patient-focused measures, including online payment rates and patient satisfaction.

          With the changes brought about by the pandemic, we are entering into a work-from-home world where people are more available at home on their phones and computers.

          To step up, your organizations may also establish additional patient metrics beyond the revenue cycle. These metrics include:

          • Net promoter score
          • Call abandonment rate
          • Call wait times
          • Total number of phone calls received
          • Number of days for appointment scheduling

          Providers who adopt these patient-centric strategies and approaches will reap multiple benefits for themselves and their patients.


          About Mnet Health

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare.

          Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.