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 RCM

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 

Patient Balance
Patient Balance

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.

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

    Payment Portal
    Payment Portal

    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.

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

    Patient Satisfaction
    Patient Satisfaction

    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.


    Tex-to-Pay phones

    Mnet Health’s Text-to-Pay on iPhone & Android - Now Available

    Text-to-Pay solution provides a better patient experience and helps patients stay on top of their medical bills by just using their smartphones.

    ALISO VIEJO, CALIFORNIA, OCTOBER 9, 2020 — Mnet Health, the leader in surgical revenue cycle management and patient billing services has announced the launch of its Text-to-Pay solution to help patients pay their medical bills.

    Mnet’s SMS platform is designed to deliver all patient financial services — everything from payment in full to pay-plans and financing all neatly offered within the confines of a text conversation. Enabling a Text-to-Pay platform helps consumers feel they are in control over their finances and creates a better patient encounter.

    A patients’ perception of their overall healthcare experience is greatly influenced by the ease with which they can access their bill. As with other consumer-driven industries, patients expect to manage their healthcare billing at any time and from anywhere.

    Numerous studies and surveys point to the effectiveness of text billing solutions:

    • 65% of consumers pay their bill on first text notification and 80% of consumers who are given this payment option use it (Authvia data).
    • SMS (text messages) receive a 4x greater open-rate than traditional email marketing and electronic communications.
    • Billing texts also have a 99% read-rate as most smartphones are set up to automatically show a preview of each text message.

    Mnet’s Text-to-Pay solution works in both Android and iOS mobile phones to provide a seamless, contactless payment experience for patients. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Text-to-Pay has become an essential solution for healthcare facilities to provide a contactless payment method for their patients.

    The solution prompts providers to send a secure link via SMS that enables their patients to pay directly from the text conversation; eliminating both security and contamination risks.

    When providers adopt effective, contactless billing and payment options; patients will be kept safe, engaged, and informed.

    “We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy to navigate financial experience in healthcare,” says David Hamilton, CEO of Mnet Health.

    With the rise of high deductible health plans and the economic fallout brought about by Covid-19, many patients have become more financially burdened. This is why they need more than just an online bill pay option.

    Patients need a variety of other financial services such as payment plans and even financing. With Mnet’s Text-to-Pay solution, patients will be able to make payments, set up payment plans, or apply for financing directly from their mobile phones.

    Patients love SMS because it’s easy to use and yields fast results. When patients text with an agent and receive answers quickly, not only do they save time, but their frustration is reduced, resulting in a more satisfying patient experience.

    Americans today are increasingly connected to the world of digital information while “on the go” via mobile devices. According to Pew Research Center, the vast majority of Americans – 96% – now own a cellphone of some kind with 81% owning smartphones.

    In addition, a 2019 research study by Asurion revealed that Americans now check their phones 96 times a day or once every 10 minutes. The same study also showed that even Baby Boomers are seven times more likely to text than they are to talk in-person and are twice as likely to send a text instead of call.

    Patients expect the same streamlined financial encounter in healthcare as they do in other consumer-driven industries.

    With Text-to-Pay, healthcare providers can offer a convenient way for patients, who regularly have their phone in hand or within reach, to pay their medical bills.

    Many providers are now making use of the latest contactless payment solutions like Text-to-Pay with Mnet as their partner for success.

    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.

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


    Bad Debt

    A Surge in Revenue Cycle Outsourcing is Reducing Bad Debt

    More than a year into the pandemic, and now with over 150 million Americans fully vaccinated, the US healthcare system is easing closer to recovery.

    However, financial losses from the COVID-19 pandemic will have lasting effects on providers who don’t quickly build a more resilient healthcare revenue cycle.

    According to Kaufman Hall’s June 2021 National Hospital Flash Report, volumes and margins increased compared to 2020, but still remain down compared to 2019.

    Hospitals and health systems have been hit hard by low volumes, staggering revenues, and a slow recovery.

    According to data from Strata Decision Technology, top inpatient procedures saw volume decreases of up to 99 percent during the early phases of the pandemic. This accounted for over 50 percent of total payments made to hospitals.

    After such dramatic revenue losses, healthcare organizations are rebuilding their financial capacity and are working towards making 2021 a bounce-back year for their revenue.

    To accomplish this, providers are keeping a close watch on handling their cash flow and managing increasing bad debt.

    Pre-pandemic, hospitals already struggled with increasing bad debt (Bad debt refers to patient debt that is considered unrecoverable, i.e. when unemployment or bankruptcy prevents patient payments according to the new standard).

    Healthcare providers have always struggled to collect payment from uninsured people and even from some insured people who can’t or won’t pay skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs due to the rise of high-deductible health plans.

    In order to stabilize finances, many healthcare organizations have turned to outsourced revenue cycle companies to help their revenue cycles recover and adapt to a post-pandemic world.

    Pre-Pandemic Bad Debt

    Bad Debt
    Bad Debt

    Healthcare margins typically have been very thin, with the median hospital margin at 3.5%. Even before COVID-19, a number of U.S. hospitals struggled with negative margins—in other words, they were losing money on operations.

    In 2018, approximately 21 percent of all active hospitals reported $10 million or more in bad debt. A study from TransUnion also showed that patient balances after insurance (PBAI) increased by more than 52 percent between 2012 and 2017.

    In the same period, Medicare bad debt, which occurs when recipients don’t pay deductibles and coinsurance, increased by about 18 percent (totaling nearly $3.7 billion).

    Prior to the pandemic, the rate of uninsured patients increased incrementally for several years despite an improving economy. The uninsured count grew from 26.7 million in 2016 to 29.2 million in 2019.

    This increase in uninsured patients often results in more bad debt for healthcare providers.

    COVID-19’s Financial Impact to Healthcare

    The American Hospital Association (AHA) estimates that US hospitals incurred at least $323.1 billion in losses in 2020 due to a combination of reduced revenue and increased costs during the pandemic.

    The economic downturn brought about by the pandemic has disrupted insurance coverage for millions of people who end up uninsured.

    According to an Urban Institute report, an estimated 7.3 million workers and their dependents would lose their employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) due to unemployment as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Because of this, more than 11 million people are estimated to turn to publicly-supported insurance such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and government-subsidized coverage on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces.

    This shift in coverage means healthcare providers and practices will rely more on Medicaid and self-pay patients in the aftermath of the pandemic.

    With wider losses in coverage, 47% of hospitals saw an increase in bad debt and uncompensated care in 2020, according to a Kaufman Hall Performance Report.

    Hospitals across the US also saw their median operating margin drop 55.6 percent throughout 2020.

    A recent analysis by Kaufman Hall also revealed that nearly 40% of hospitals may face negative margins in 2021, even with a smooth vaccine rollout scenario.

    Providers Turn to Outsourcing to Reduce Bad Debt

    Increasing healthcare costs, medical billing complexity, and self-pay patients were already leading to a rise in outsourcing of medical billing services pre-pandemic.

    Now that COVID-19 has presented even more challenges to healthcare revenue, providers are finding ways to reduce overhead costs by turning to revenue cycle management (RCM) outsourcing.

    Many providers have found themselves inadequately prepared to handle billing and collections amidst the pandemic with suboptimal collection rates and weakening margins, leading them to partner with revenue cycle management (RCM) companies to assist them.

    Nearly 90% of hospitals have either outsourced or planned to outsource their billing functions during the pandemic, according to a 2020 Black Book report.

    Reducing bad debt can result in a direct increase in revenue and can significantly move the revenue needle.

    Benchmarks show that bad debt as percentage of revenue in hospitals is as follows: 1.63% at for-profit hospitals, 1.45% at not-for-profit hospitals, and 3.23% at government hospitals.

    This means that a 10 percent reduction in bad debt for a not-for-profit healthcare system with an annual revenue of $2 billion could result in savings of nearly $3 million. That’s $3 million more in revenue!

    Providers look to trusted RCM vendors to significantly reduce their bad debt through:

    • Implementing patient payment plans and convenient payment options. During the pandemic, providers have found payment plan options to be very successful at improving patient collections. In fact, the flexibility offered by payment plans are quite crucial for many patients during this time as they struggle to make ends meet during the recession. Personalized payment plans can significantly improve patient experience to build loyalty long after the pandemic is over.
    • Fielding patient calls from well-trained staff. Many providers have found their call lines flooded with questions from patients regarding payments once they learn they had been furloughed and would be without income for several months. Having an RCM partner act as a seamless extension of a healthcare facility becomes a huge benefit with patient financial advocates who can communicate information accurately and show care and compassion as they counsel patients throughout the financial experience.
    • Verifying insurance coverage. A TransUnion Healthcare analysis revealed that between 1 to 5 percent of self-pay accounts written off as bad debt actually have billable insurance coverage. Identifying insured patients who are also Medicaid eligible can increase hospitals’ revenue recovery from Medicare bad debt by as much as 10% a year.

    Many unknowns persist surrounding COVID-19 and its impacts in the coming fall and winter months. This creates significant revenue volatility for hospitals and health systems nationwide.

    Having a well-equipped and trusted RCM partner is key to succeeding during the pandemic, particularly since there are more uninsured patients and significant staffing challenges.


    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.


    Improve Your Revenue Cycle

    Improve Your Revenue Cycle – Patients Need More Financial Flexibility

    Healthcare providers have long faced revenue cycle challenges and they have become increasingly difficult as patients have had to shoulder more financial responsibility for their care.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, these challenges have intensified and have increased the need for providers to make much-needed improvements in their revenue cycle due to financial loss from suspended procedures.

    The pandemic has certainly affected the finances of many patients. Thus, providers may need to work on ways to accommodate patients who may need more financial flexibility in the coming months.

    According to a recent CNBC survey of 800 people, one-fourth of Americans have either lost their job or taken a pay cut. That means more than 30 percent of Americans may be at risk of losing coverage under employer insurance plans.

    The pandemic has also exacerbated other problems that were already apparent across health systems. Number one on that list has been a poor digital experience.

    The healthcare industry is vastly underserved by current technologies that everyday consumers find in other industries such as the retail sector.

    A 2019 Survata survey revealed the following:

    • Half of consumers said they were frustrated about their provider’s lack of adoption of digital processes, such as online bill pay, mobile and email bill delivery, access to insurance information, and digital pre-appointment forms
    • 41% of patients said they would stop going to their provider over a poor digital experience.
    • 1 in 5 patients have already stopped or switched providers over a poor digital experience.

    As lockdowns and physical distancing measures were imposed, the long-overdue digital transformation in the healthcare landscape became essential to thrive.

    Here are areas where your healthcare facility can really transform and improve its revenue cycle:

    1. Communication

    Whether answering a phone call about a billing question or providing a price estimate, patient communication has a huge impact on the overall patient experience and a facility’s bottom line.

    Consumers use digital tools to facilitate nearly every aspect of their lives. A true multichannel approach utilizes a variety of integrated communication channels like text, email, online portal, phone, or social media for appointment reminders, billing, and other service-related communications. This makes it easier to respond quickly to patients and allows providers to cut costs from reduced printing and postage expenses from traditional mailed statements.

    Improving patient communication is also not just about using digital tools. When your communications are based on patient preferences and actual engagement behaviors, the patient experience elevates, and financial performance improves.

    Effective patient communications go beyond just a discussion of what the patient owes. Providers need to act more as a partner and patient advocate in patient financial discussions and handle conversations in a compassionate manner.

    Patients may need to be educated about the different components of their financial responsibility, financing options, and applying for Medicaid government programs. With an estimated 4 million elective surgeries canceled in the US at the height of the pandemic, there is a tremendous backlog awaiting rescheduling and many of these patients are self-pay.

    Helping patients pay by removing language barriers and communicating in their native tongue can provide an outstanding patient experience resulting in a much more efficient revenue cycle and better collections outcome.

    Therefore, Mnet has added over 200 languages to its call center capability to help providers improve patient communication.

    2. Technology

    In response to COVID-19, healthcare facilities have been focusing on facilitating limited-touch workflows and contactless processes.

    Healthcare organizations have turned to various technology solutions to improve their revenue cycle processes.

    This includes using current technologies like online patient portals for performing patient registrations including copay collection prior to patients’ scheduled visits. Contactless registration also allows patients to check-in online and then proceed directly to the patient care room.

    Contactless payment solutions like text-to-pay (SMS payments) have been on the rise even before Covid-19, but healthcare providers and patients now see them as essential.

    Technology solutions help healthcare providers streamline manual processes and offer a more consumer-oriented approach to revenue cycle management from registration through billing and payment. One East Coast provider has found that people receiving a text notification paid their balance 12 days faster.

    However, patients need more than just an online bill pay option. They need a variety of other financial services such as contact-free payment plans and financing. Patients want healthcare organizations to offer transparently priced care, payment plans, and a simple billing and payment process.

    TextToPay, Mnet’s SMS platform, is designed to deliver all patient financial services — everything from payment in full to payment plans and financing all neatly offered in a text experience.

    3. Staffing & Personnel

    Technology alone can make a big difference, but it cannot replace the human element of revenue cycle management.

    Revenue cycle leaders must be prepared to have the right staffing level to accommodate changes brought about by the pandemic. If they are not prepared, they’re going to be either understaffed or overstaffed.

    Post-lockdown, some healthcare facilities like surgery centers are seeing a higher case volume and a huge backlog of cases. Providers find themselves doing more surgery from the backlog with fewer staff members.

    COVID-19 safety protocols are also creating some operational changes which may contribute more to an increasing backlog.

    Therefore, healthcare organizations need to be able to manage through the volatility and can quickly scale up or scale down.

    Particularly in billing and collections where time is crucial, engaging and working with people on a human level takes time, training, resources, and plenty of energy. Therefore, providers need to ensure they have dedicated staff handling billing and collections.

    Having a partner focus on patient payments can free up limited staff to focus on providing quality care and building case volume.

    Mnet is ready to field inbound calls from patients pertaining to payment or process, long-term or temporarily, using remote call center technology and Patient Financial Advocates. Mnet’s remote assistance is designed to offer a seamless transition for ASC’s with either limited commitment or long-term commitment if that is more advantageous.


    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.


    First and Third Party Collections

    Understanding The Difference Between 1st Party and 3rd Party Patient Collections

    Strategies to Improve Patient Collection

    As the patient has become the third largest payer in the country; balance after insurance has skyrocketed. Providers need to rethink their strategies to improve patient collections and save costs as receiving patient payments on time can be challenging.

    Many providers have found outsourcing Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) to be valuable in improving their patient collections and revenues. When outsourcing your RCM, you need to know the key differences between first and third party patient collection services.

    First Party vs. Third Party Patient Collections

    First and Third Party Collections

    Technically, first party collections refer to in-house debt collection and third party collections refer to outsourced collection agencies. First party agencies are often subsidiaries of the provider where the debt is owed to; while third party agencies are separate companies contracted by the provider to collect debts on their behalf.

    However, when it comes to accounts receivable services, “first party” and “third party” may mean something somewhat different. It has less to do with who’s handling the process, and more to do with the stage of the process.

    Hence, first party patient collections can be handled by a separate company. End-to-end revenue cycle management companies like Mnet Health also handle both first party and third party collection services.

    First Party Patient Collections (Early-Out / Early Stages)

    First Party Collections

    Current first party collections for healthcare revenue cycle management is often referred to as “early-out” as it happens early on in accounts receivable management. This early stage is for slightly past-due accounts that aren’t quite ready for full collection.

    During this stage, providers send out reminders to patients about their balance due. They might also offer to enroll them in payment plans or offer financing.

    First party management is about trying to prevent a loss, so early intervention is crucial. Contacting self-pay patients at an early stage increases the likelihood that a patient can be informed of their financial options and start making payments on their balance.

    At this stage, any first party collection partner your facility engages with will act on your behalf, using your company name and working to uphold your relationship with your clients.

    Here are key points in the first party collections / early-out stage:

    • A range of activities are performed at this stage:
      • Billing
      • Insurance claim follow-up
      • Patient reminder calls or text
      • Contacting patients shortly after the due date
      • Dunning letters
      • Outbound and inbound calls
      • Payment plan monitoring
      • Facilities payment plans and financing
    • Any communication or reminder messages will be branded with the provider’s name and adhere to the provider’s communication standards. All communication with the customer appears to come directly from the provider, even if a separate company is handling it.
    • First party collections work like an extension of your back-end operations or billing office.
    • First party collections typically reach out to patients starting at the generation of the first bill or up to 90 days afterward.
    • Focused on customer service and agents are trained to be more engaging and sensitive to patients’ financial situations.

    If patients have negative experiences with first party early-out or collections vendors, it may influence not only their financial experiences, but it will shape their overall experience with providers, regardless of the quality of care received.

    If patient balance remains unpaid despite all first party collection efforts, they are escalated to the third party collections stage.

    Third Party Patient Collections (Late Stage)

    Third Party Payback

    Patient balances that remain unpaid are subject to being written off as bad debt. In order to collect accounts that are written off, providers enlist third party collections or bad debt recovery services.

    Third party collections happen later in the debt collection process. Most often, dealing with patients which have gone cold. In these cases, patients may have skipped town or don’t answer calls, emails may bounce back, and paper reminders may be mailed back to you.

    • Once the account has moved to third party accounts receivables services, the provider’s name will no longer be used. The third party is still acting on behalf of the provider, but the communications are now coming directly from a separate company.
    • Third party collections are subject to the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and are more regulated than first party
    • Other tactics can now be used to locate the debtor and bring the account up-to-date, aiming to instill a sense of urgency in the debtor
    • Third party collections are about liquidating the total balance written off
    • Doing well in third party collections means recovering debt at the same time not losing patient loyalty

    Get End-to-End Revenue Cycle Management with Mnet Health

    By offering end-to-end healthcare RCM, Mnet Health helps providers the whole way through from first party to third party collections. Mnet has a true end-to-end patient revenue cycle that elegantly transitions from first party to third party, seamlessly integrating both services to provide a comprehensive, customized program for your collections.

    Working together with a partner offering both first party and third party collections can benefit both you and your patients. It allows Mnet to become familiar with the accounts in receivables right from the beginning and can customize approaches to give your patients an integrated experience, resulting in a higher percentage of accounts being settled during the early stages.

    • Increase your monthly patient collections by 40-100%
    • Dramatically reduce your bad debt write-offs
    • Get happier patients (better financial experience)
    • Never have to deal with patient collections again

    You still decide which accounts go to bad debt. Once you decide, accounts move from the first party call center to our bad debt collections service.

    From first party collections to third party recovery, Mnet’s revenue cycle management solutions help you increase your revenue, lower the days in your account receivable, and create outstanding patient financial experiences.

    First Party


    • Calls are made/answered as provider’s billing office
    • Letters are in provider’s name
    • Payment processing
      • All payments accepted from patients are in the providers name
    • Online bill pay is provided to patients
    • No credit reporting

    Third Party


    • Calls are made/answered as a debt collector attempting to collect a debt
    • Letters are from the collection agency representing the provider
    • All payments are processed through the collection agency
    • Online bill pay is through the collection agency website
    • Credit reporting is an option


    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 custom 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 https://mnethealth.com.


    How Surgery Centers Can Navigate Post-Lockdown Staffing Issues

    Staffing during the pandemic has been a key concern, but post-lockdown staffing has its own challenges as well.

    Post-lockdown, surgery centers are seeing a higher case volume and a huge backlog of cases. Some staff members are taking a vacation because it is summer and that also poses its own staffing challenge. ASCs find themselves doing more surgery from the backlog with fewer staff members.

    According to a study by Johns Hopkins researchers, it may take between seven to 16 months for surgeons to complete the backlog of elective orthopedic surgeries that have been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    COVID-19 safety protocols are also creating some operational changes which may contribute more to an increasing backlog. As non-emergency surgeries slowly start to pick up, it won’t be as simple as flipping a switch to operate surgical facilities to what they were pre-pandemic.

    For ASCs, particularly, top staffing challenges include:

    • Bringing staff back from furlough

    This means determining who to bring back and who is more likely to return to work. Some staff may want to stay on reduced hours to spend more time with their children; others don't feel safe returning to work due to high risks of contracting the virus. Some even opt to resign to minimize risk to their family.

    • Staff exposure to COVID-19 infection

    If one staff member gets exposed to coronavirus and infects others and they all must self-isolate, the resulting staffing shortages could force the practice to revert to urgent procedures only. If some staff are required to self-quarantine, it needs the rest of the team or additional staff to step up to take on additional cases.

    • Recruitment challenges

    Recruiting talent during this period may prove difficult and come at a higher cost than budgeted. Due to the increased demand for qualified talent, salaries are likely to be appreciably higher than those prior to the pandemic. Finding talented staff members willing and able to work flexible hours during ramp-up periods may also be more difficult than expected.

    ASCs need to become creative with staffing during this period. Given the volatile nature of the pandemic, staffing could end up being a challenge day to day. The disruptions due to Covid-19 provide an opportunity to rethink many aspects of a surgical facility’s operations.

    To avoid a haphazard ramp-up and address the large surgical backlog, it is important to adopt strategies that are safe, ethically sound, and operationally efficient. Here are some key points and suggestions to consider:

    • Giving more hours to per diem staff who are requesting more due to the lack of work during the pandemic.
    • Consider the possibility of instituting extended hours of operation (evenings and weekends). Extending existing block schedules for example from eight to ten hours and opening up all hours on the weekend when ORs are typically not running elective cases.
    • Even with the increased case volumes, some facilities choose to operate at 90 percent volume to strategically prepare for possible exposure. This way, even if a staff member self-quarantines because of a known exposure, the facility won’t be short-staffed.
    • Allot more space for clinical use during caseload ramp-up periods to capture the volume of cases available to your center.
    • Build larger patient care areas to respond to new safety needs by outsourcing business office functions such as revenue cycle management or patient billing services.
    • Outsourcing revenue cycle management allows you to access experienced staff for your patient billing needs. Consider utilizing remote Patient Financial Advocates and remote Call Center to focus on patient payments while your facility focuses on scheduling cases.
    • Utilize more of available patient billing solutions and technologies. This will enable processes to be streamlined and reduce the amount of direct patient contacts (paperless registration processes, text billing, online patient portals, integrated scheduling, and other improved billing procedures.)

    It’s important that surgery centers not just go back to normal, but also to try to reinvent their facility to be better than they were prior to COVID-19.

    How Mnet Can Help

    Mnet works with the medical community as they strive to stabilize the healthcare system while keeping the lines of communication open with the patients. Mnet fully understands the breadth of the situation facing the surgical industry and stands ready to help.

    Having a partner focus on patient payments can free up limited staff to focus on providing quality care and building case volume.

    Mnet is ready to field inbound calls from patients pertaining to payment or process, long-term or temporarily, using remote call center technology and Patient Financial Advocates. Mnet’s remote assistance is designed to offer a seamless transition for ASC’s with either limited commitment or long-term commitment if that is more advantageous. The main goal of Mnet is to help loyal clients preserve the integrity of the industry during this extremely challenging time.


    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.

    Have a question? Contact Us Now


    With 4-Million Surgeries to be Rescheduled, Mnet Speaks Your Language

    Mnet adds critical interpretation services for over 200 languages to its call center capability, as caseload increase becomes the new normal for surgical centers.

    ALISO VIEJO, CALIFORNIA, August 12, 2020 — Mnet Health (‘Mnet’), the leader in surgical revenue cycle management has announced the addition of over 200 languages to its call center capability in order to help patients pay.

    Mnet has always had multilingual customer service agents. But with the addition of critical interpretation services of over 200 languages to its call center capability, Mnet is now better able to deliver its benchmark of significantly increasing monthly self-pay collections by as much as 40-100% while creating an outstanding financial experience for patients than ever before.

    Since the onset of the current pandemic, patients are now preferring their surgeries be done at ASCs rather than hospitals so that they don’t need to stay overnight. Third-party payers are also increasingly directing surgical cases toward outpatient facilities due to lower infection risk, improved efficiency, and reduced costs.
    With an estimated 4 million elective surgeries canceled in the US at the height of the pandemic, there is a tremendous backlog awaiting rescheduling and many of these patients are self-pay.

    Helping patients pay by removing language barriers and communicating in their native tongue can provide an outstanding patient experience resulting in a more efficient revenue cycle and better collections outcome. “We’ve learned that patients are better able to resolve their medical bills when everything is explained in their native tongue, and thus have a better experience,” says David Hamilton, CEO of Mnet Health.

    Mnet specializes in concierge patient financial services for patients needing surgery. Mnet’s call center interpreters are experienced and well-trained in translating for medical patients over the phone, ensuring that facts — including those relating to financial responsibility — are rightfully translated to the patient.

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 67 million U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home. In America’s five largest cities, 48 percent of residents now speak a language other than English at home. The top languages with more than a million speakers in the US include Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Arabic, French, and Korean.

    Using its suite of payment solutions, Mnet has helped millions of patients pay their medical bills. Over the years, Mnet has been known for “helping patients pay” with over $1 billion in managed patient balances. This is why well over 700 surgical facilities across the United States have partnered with Mnet Health to handle their patient revenue cycle.

    Communicating with patients in their primary language helps build a trusting relationship with their surgical centers as it shows that providers are respectful of their diverse patient population.

    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.

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


    Mnet Remote Call Center

    Remote Call Centers Make Sense Now More Than Ever

    While no one could have truly predicted the impact Coronavirus world have on the world; Mnet has continued to be committed to working alongside the medical community as they strive to stabilize the healthcare system while keeping the lines of communication open with the patients. Mnet fully understands the breadth of the situation facing the healthcare industry and stands ready to help.

    Mnet is at the ready to field inbound calls from patients pertaining to payment or process, long-term or temporarily, using remote call center technology and Patient Financial Advocates. Mnet’s remote assistance is designed to offer a seamless transition for ASC’s with either limited commitment or long-term commitment if that is more advantageous. The main goal of Mnet is to help loyal clients preserve the integrity of the industry during this extremely challenging time.

    This strategy works by allowing Mnet Patient Financial Advocates to access ASC patient accounting systems and for ASC’s to forward inbound patient balance calls to the Mnet remote contact center. Mnet has Patient Financial Advocate teams dedicated to each ASC and each team is 100% US-based, multilingual staff. Call transfer is seamless, and the IVR gives patients all the self-help tools they have come to expect.

    Mnet’s support teams are available 8 am – 8 pm central and on weekends while also average a 9 second hold time. Patients are assisted by highly trained Patient Financial Advocates and can answer any billing questions, offer payment or payment plan options, and accept CareCredit payment from the patients. Patient Financial Advocates can help patients get through the application process and can offer patients practical suggestions throughout the pandemic such as how to apply for unemployment, where to find specialized assistance, and much more.

    Contact us today to find out how Mnet can help your ASC.


    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.


    The New Normal

    It’s the New Normal - Reinvent Your Surgery Center

    ASCs and surgical facilities were already facing a variety of challenges brought about by increased patient financial responsibility and by a changing reimbursement landscape, but COVID-19 has either brought new challenges or magnified existing ones.

    The challenges brought about by the pandemic have caused surgery centers to accelerate needed changes to improve different areas in their revenue cycle operations.

    For surgery centers, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could linger long after the crisis is contained. Here are 3 ways to reinvent your facility to come out from this downturn:

    1. Staffing
    Several surgery centers have laid off and furloughed staff to offset financial losses from elective case bans in March. Now that elective surgeries are ramping back up again, surgery centers will have to grapple with having sufficient staff with the surge of elective cases which were put off.

    Staffing can represent 40 percent of an ASC's budget, so centers should plan staffing well, by identifying who would likely return to work and when to bring back such furloughed staff.

    A couple of challenges have surfaced due to COVID-19:

    • Recruiting talent during this transitional period may prove difficult and come at a higher cost than budgeted.
    • Staff may be reluctant to come back from furlough
    • Finding talented staff members willing and able to work flexible hours during your ramp-up period may be more difficult than expected.
    • Due to the increased demand for qualified talent, salaries are likely to be appreciably higher than those prior to the -pandemic.

    Here’s some things your surgical facility can do:

    • Maintain communication channels with furloughed staff and keep them informed about your center's ability to recruit them back and steps your center is taking to protect staff.
    • Consider having some staff float among locations, take on new tasks, or simply work part-time until full-time options become available.
    • Formally screen staff when they are asked to take on new responsibilities and be transparent about additional requirements.
    • Outsourcing revenue cycle management allows you to access experienced staff for your patient billing needs.

    2. Patient Payments
    According to a recent CNBC survey, one-fourth of Americans have either lost their job or taken a pay cut. That means more than 30 percent of Americans may be at risk of losing coverage under employer insurance plans.
    During these times, helping patients pay and choose the best and most convenient path for them is key to boosting collections.

    Here’s some things your ASC can do:

    • Provide payment plans with zero interest and financing options for low-income or uninsured patients with higher out-of-pocket responsibilities.
    • Offer contactless solutions to communicate with patients and collect payments like text-to-pay and online patient portals.
    • Consider getting trained patient financial advocates to walk patients through their financial options including sensible payment plans, responsible funding options, and compliant charity care programs.

    3. Operations and Patient Care Areas
    Patients also now prefer surgery to be done at ASCs so that they don’t need to go into the hospital to stay overnight. Patients are seeking safer locations for their surgical care, which is pushing them away from hospitals and toward ASCs.

    With an estimated 4 million elective surgeries cancelled in the US during the height of the pandemic, there is a large backlog awaiting rescheduling, which is also forcing a delay in scheduling new procedures.

    Third-party payers are also increasingly directing surgical cases toward outpatient facilities due to lower infection risk, improved efficiency, and reduced costs.

    Hence, surgery center’s caseloads are expected to transform quickly from low to high volume. The caseload increase is becoming the new normal for ASCs.

    Here’s some things your facility can do:

    • Consider the possibility of instituting extended hours of operation (evenings and weekends)
    • Allot more space for clinical use during caseload ramp-up periods to capture the volume of cases available to your center.
    • Build larger patient care areas to respond to new safety needs by outsourcing business office functions such as revenue cycle management or patient billing services.

    In all these 3 key areas, an experienced surgical RCM company could be really helpful as an extension of your business office and help your surgery center focus on providing excellent care.


    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.

    Have a question? Contact Us Now


    Mnet Patient Financial Advocates

    Medical Bills Are Confusing - Patients Need Financial Advocates

    Patient financial responsibility is on the rise and shows no signs of slowing down. As medical debt continues to be a growing problem in the United States, many Americans are experiencing financial instability.

    In fact, more than 137 million Americans were burdened by medical debt between 2015 and 2017.

    However, it’s not just purely financial reasons that people don’t pay their medical bills. A McKinsey study found that 74 percent of insured consumers are both able and willing to pay their out-of-pocket medical expenses, up to $1,000 per year.

    Patients Are Confused with Medical Bills

    Patients are often confused and frustrated when they get multiple bills for the same medical procedure. Many patients don’t understand the reason that one visit can be split up into multiple bills.

    In the surgical industry, this would often mean separate bills from the surgeon, the lab, the anesthesiologist, and the surgical facility. Higher-than-expected charges, unclear statements, and bills arriving months late create a perfect storm for poor patient financial experience.

    The media is full of stories of patients experiencing uncertainty, confusion, and even anger concerning medical bills and healthcare costs.

    According to InstaMed’s Trends in Healthcare Payments 2019 Report:

    • 70% of consumers are confused by their medical bill
    • 91% of consumers were surprised by a medical bill in 2019
    • Millennials and Gen X are 28% more likely than Baby Boomers to consider switching a healthcare provider for a better payment experience

    Medical bills often become much bigger than patients expect since most healthcare providers do not share prices (or even estimates) before the surgical procedure or visit.

    When patients have been in surgery with a full care team or have done several follow-up tests, medical bills often arrive separately. When this happens, patients become confused about what they owe and why. They may also believe they’re being double-billed, so they don’t know where to start paying and they either delay payments or don’t make them at all.

    One of the most common reasons patients stall paying their medical bills is because they aren’t confident that their balance is accurate or owed by them. This is especially true in the surgical industry.

    Why? Because in surgery there are so many moving parts. The patient receives several different bills related to one surgical episode that patients aren’t exactly sure how the providers and their health insurance company have sorted everything out.

    If patients are confused and are not confident about their medical bill, they might just not pay in the hopes of either buying time or having their healthcare facility discover some error especially when patients receive a bill that is higher than their expectation.

    A study by West Corporation revealed several reasons why patients delay medical payments or don’t pay at all:

    • 42 percent of patients delay medical payments due to high deductibles
    • 30 percent of patients cited “confusion about how much insurance will cover what patients owe”
    • 30 percent cited “receiving bills for services patients don’t think they should have to pay for”
    • 25 percent of patients cited “waiting to receive the final bill so they are sure of the amount owed”
    • 11 percent of patients cited “uncertainty about what payment method to use”

    Patient Financial Advocates Can Make A Difference

    In order to create a better financial experience, what all patients need is just a little bit of help. A patient financial advocate can address all the issues mentioned previously.

    This is why Mnet offers providers Patient Financial Advocates as part of our patient billing solutions.

    We’ve learned! Before we offer financing — before we offer a payment plan — before we offer a payment portal — we offer to explain their balance!  Patients will be much more likely to pay this way.

    Patient Financial Advocates are a huge key to our success in our mission to helping patients pay their medical bills.

    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. They answer patients’ questions and help patients cover their financial responsibility, including offering payment plans and financing options to cover surgical costs.

    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.

    Learn more about Mnet’s Patient Financial Advocates.

    Our Patient Financial Advocates (PFA’s) can help your patient understand their insurance benefits and their medical bill. Our PFA’s are uniquely trained to walk patients through their financial options including sensible payment plans, responsible funding options, and compliant charity care programs. We work until late in the evenings and on weekends, so a friendly and helpful multilingual agent is always available to be of assistance.

    • A seamless extension of your billing office
    • Agents support your approved payment plan & financing offerings
    • Available nights and weekends (8 am – 8 pm CST)
    • Agents can access billing history to explain the out of pocket balance


    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 Payments Spike in June Amid Covid-19 Crisis, says Mnet Health

    Total patient payments performed at a much greater rate (+1.6%) than the pre-coronavirus months of June as more patients paid in full, made larger payments and established payment plans.

    ALISO VIEJO, CALIFORNIA, JULY 7, 2020 — Mnet Health (‘Mnet’), the leading end-to-end payment solutions and patient billing services provider for the surgical industry, reports that it saw an increase in total patient payment by 1.6% compared to the period prior to Covid-19.

    Despite the coronavirus crisis, more patients either paid in full, made larger payments, or established payment plans:

    • Payment in full increased by 2.0%
    • Payment size increased by 3.3%
    • Payment plans established increased by 13.3%

    The current pandemic has changed nearly every aspect of people’s lives and consumer spending is no exception. The way patients seek out and pay for care is changing dramatically due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Lockdown measures and infection risks have restricted what consumers can spend money on. With restaurants and shops being shut and air travel being suspended, spending is generally down across many, if not all, industries.

    Consumers became less inclined to spend more on non-essentials. Many expect their household income to continue to fall in the coming months as 1.5 million Americans filed new unemployment claims for the week ending June 13.

    Last year, nearly one-quarter of Americans reported having unpaid or past-due medical bills. Millions are now facing some tough choices like determining which bills to pay and which to put off.  But why the increase in patient payments during the pandemic? Here’s what Mnet discovered:

    More patients staying at home and easier to contact

    Mnet’s patient contact percentages went up by 44.6%. Due to people staying at home more even after lockdown restrictions were eased, they were far more available and easier to be reached.

    This trend is in line with patients increasingly using telehealth and online shopping. Even as local officials lift restrictions, many people are still wary and plan to wait longer before resuming their old routines.

    Patients have more time to devote to resolving their balance

    Oftentimes in order to resolve a balance, the patient and Mnet would need to communicate with the insurance company. This process typically takes extra time and hasn’t always been easy to accomplish with patient’s busy schedules and the limited time to make contact with insurance companies.

    However, during the pandemic, Mnet’s length of time on the phone with patients increased by 5.6%. This means longer and more meaningful conversations with patients which also led to more payment in full and more payment plans established.

    With the pandemic, patients have had more time to sit down and review their finances. According to the latest TransUnion Financial Hardship Report, 60% of consumers plan to reach out to the companies that manage their accounts to discuss payment plans.

    Patients are concerned with keeping their account in good standing to protect their credit

    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.

    A recent 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. The CARES Act provided stimulus checks of $1,200 to individuals with annual income below $75,000 and $2,400 to married couples filing taxes jointly who earn under $150,000.

    A recent Harris Poll also found that nearly one-half of Americans (48%) are concerned the virus-induced recession would impact their credit score.

    During these uncertain times, more patients wanted to pay in full or establish a payment plan. Patients from all financial classes expressed that they wanted to pay their provider as well as protect their credit.

    Patients want to express gratitude to medical providers

    Those on the frontlines in the healthcare system are working tirelessly to take care of their local community. Some healthcare workers in certain states do not even receive extra hazard or crisis pay for working during the pandemic.

    Patients have made it clear that they are showing their gratitude for hard-working medical professional heroes by paying their financial responsibility in a timely fashion. Mnet has received more thanks and appreciation for the medical staff who attended them in calls with patients.

    Overall, patient-pay performed at a much greater rate than the pre-coronavirus months of June. The pandemic has put the healthcare industry in the spotlight and has caused patients to rethink their financial situation in these unprecedented times.

    With its mission to help patients pay, Mnet will continue to track patient payment performances closely.

    How healthcare providers help patients pay during this time of crisis will have a lasting impact on their business and the communities in the future.

    About Mnet Health

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

    Mnet Health is the premier revenue cycle management and technology provider in the surgical industry. We provide custom 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 custom 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 https://mnethealth.com.

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


    Mnet Health Leads Contactless Payment Solution for the Surgical Industry

    Text-to-pay experience meets consumer’s expectations for contactless payments amidst the new normal.

    ALISO VIEJO, CALIFORNIA — JUNE 18, 2020 — Mnet Health, the leading end-to-end payment solutions, and patient billing services provider in the surgical industry, has announced its innovative contactless payment solution as part of its mission to help patients pay.

    Contactless payment solutions like text-to-pay (SMS payments) have been on the rise even before Covid-19, but surgical facilities and patients now see them as essential. The current pandemic has spurred the demand for contactless solutions as patients worry about the health risks associated with handling cash and using shared devices like EMV terminals. Even after social distancing restrictions lift, experts predict contactless payments will be here to stay.

    Consumers are now becoming increasingly wary of traditional modes of payment like swiping a credit card and using keypads or touchscreen surfaces that are being used by the public.

    Many surgery centers across the U.S. have resumed elective surgeries, and the need to make their processes as contactless as possible have logically come to the fore. Contactless payments like text-to-pay can be made anytime, anywhere, and do not require a point‐of‐sale (POS) terminal.

    Health risks are not the only thing that patients are worried about. The unemployment situation due to Covid-19 has also affected the finances of many patients. Thus, surgery centers need to work on ways to accommodate patients who may need more financial flexibility in the coming months.

    Patients need more than just an online bill pay option. They need a variety of other financial services such as contact-free payment plans and financing. The most efficient approach for contactless payment is through SMS as 97% of Americans use their mobile phone’s texting feature at least once a day (Pew Research Center).

    Mnet’s SMS 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. Enabling text-to-pay experiences helps consumers feel in control over their finances and creates a better patient experience.

    Text billing and payments are convenient and instantaneous. It’s a win-win for both surgery centers and patients. With a text billing solution, surgical facilities eliminate much of the collection process and get a more cost-effective alternative to paper billing. Providers will be able to send a secure link that allows their patients to pay, eliminating both security and contamination risks.

    For patients, adopting effective, contactless billing and payment options will keep them safe, engaged, and informed. “For some time now, we’ve seen that patients are ready to take their payment options to a mobile experience. But, the Covid-19 pandemic has made doing so even more essential,” says David Hamilton, CEO of Mnet Health.

    Over the years, Mnet has been known for “helping patients pay” with over $1 billion in managed patient balances.

    With well over 700 surgical facilities across the U.S. using its payment solutions, Mnet has helped millions of patients pay their medical bills. Surgical facilities leverage Mnet Health’s suite of patient financial services, enabling them to treat more patients who otherwise may not have been able to afford services.

    Mnet Health services many of the most recognizable and largest ambulatory surgery center chains in the country.

    Finding innovative ways to communicate with patients and help them pay has now become a top priority for many surgery facilities. To withstand the pandemic and ensure future growth, many providers are now making use of the latest contactless payment solutions with Mnet as their partner for success.

    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.


    Learn More About SMS Messaging

    Download our PDF, “Why You Should Add SMS Messaging For Patient Engagement”

    Download PDF

    Click here to read press release on PRweb.com


    3 Things for ASCs to Consider When Ramping Up Case Volumes

    As the COVID-19 pandemic curve shrinks in many states, elective surgeries are also ramping up in surgery centers.  Some patients, however, might still be reluctant to go into medical facilities because of the risks of COVID-19. On the other hand, patients may be eyeing ASC’s which have largely been isolated from COVID-19 cases. 

    According to a recent Spherix Global survey, specialists believe the COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting effect on their practices. The survey of 265 dermatologists, gastroenterologists, nephrologists, neurologists and rheumatologists revealed the following:

    • Nearly 50 percent expect it will take at least 4 months for patient volumes to return to somewhat normal
    • Seventy-eight percent said the pandemic will have a lasting effect on practice operations

    Many surgery administrators believe that patients will feel more comfortable coming to an ASC over a hospital, so they are preparing for an increase in cases going forward. Here are 3 essential things to consider as you ramp up your case volumes:

    1. Prepare for a Surge in Demand for Elective Surgeries 

    In a post-epidemic world, the new normal will see an increase of cases in an outpatient setting as patients find it a more cost effective and safer environment. Hospitals will still be dealing with COVID-19 for quite some time so ASC’s will offer an alternative for performing cases.

    ASC’s typically treat healthier patients with fewer simultaneous health issues and the ASC setting is potentially safer and cleaner for patients than hospitals. Hence, surgery centers need to start preparing for the coming influx of patients demanding elective surgeries. 

    Here are what some facilities are doing to prepare for increased demand: 

    • Expand block times during the week and adding weekends
    • Implement increased COVID-19 screening practices and special precautions for infection control
    • Educate patients on the inherent benefits of the outpatient space
    • Adjusting the timing of surgeries so patients are sufficiently spaced out in pre- and post-op areas 

    2. COVID-19 Transforms Patient Needs and Their Ability to Pay for Healthcare

    The unemployment situation due to COVID-19 certainly affected the finances of many patients. ASC’s need to work on ways to accommodate patients who may need more financial flexibility in the coming months. 

    According to a recent CNBC survey of 800 people, one-fourth of Americans have either lost their job or taken a pay cut, and an additional 9 percent expect to find themselves in that same situation. That means more than 30 percent of Americans may be at risk of losing coverage under employer insurance plans. 

    Some patients may delay elective surgeries indefinitely or forgo them altogether if forced to pay out-of-pocket.

    Here’s what your facility could do to respond to this situation:

    • Reevaluate your uninsured discount policy, charity care, and sliding fee scale
    • Ensure all patients know of financial assistance options through better patient financial education and communication
    • Implement patient-friendly billing options
    • Partner with institutions to offer additional ways for patients to pay, including zero-interest payment plans
    • Sufficiently train staff about financial assistance policies and patient financial responsibility
    • Have Patient Financial Advocates who are ready to answer patient’s questions

    3. Grappling with Staffing-Related Problems Post-Pandemic

    In the wake of the healthcare crisis, several surgery centers were laying off or furloughing employees to offset financial losses from elective surgery bans. Some ASC’s were unable to guarantee unemployed workers would get their jobs back. 

    However as elective surgeries have resumed, surgery centers need to ensure they are sufficiently staffed for the increased volume of patients whose elective cases were put off.

    When prospective patients were at home without much to do, many were able to do more research online, look at cost estimation tools, calculate payments, etc. This resulted in increased demand for price transparency, payment plans, and other patient-friendly medical billing options. Some facilities have found that calls related to financial assistance spiked during this crisis.

    Here are some things your ASC can do to offset this situation:

    • Consider utilizing remote Patient Financial Advocates and remote Call Center
    • Focus on scheduling cases while remote call center reps focus on payments
    • Utilize more of available patient billing solutions and technologies. This will enable processes to be streamlined and reduce the amount of direct patient contacts (paperless registration processes, text billing, online patient portals, integrated scheduling, and other improved billing procedures.)

     


    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.