A growing number of US hospitals have canceled or postponed elective surgeries due to the surging number of Americans sick with Covid-19 (fourth surge).

According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), more than 95 percent of the new COVID-19 cases in the United States involve the highly infectious Delta variant.

With the current Delta surge, hospitals and health systems are again postponing elective surgeries in order to preserve staff and free up hospital beds – especially in Florida, Texas, and Louisiana.

On August 9, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called on hospitals to voluntarily postpone procedures for which delay would not lead to a “loss of life or a deterioration in the patient’s condition.”

These elective procedures, such as echocardiograms and hip replacements, are also typically among the most profitable for hospitals and a major source of their revenue.

According to a study, halting major elective surgery during the pandemic cost US hospitals an estimated $22.3 billion.

A typical 1,000-bed hospital system would lose about 50 percent of its quarterly revenue with a moderate surge in COVID-19 patients, according to estimates by the Advisory Board.

Elective Surgeries Shift to ASCs

ASC
ASC

When surge scenarios occur, health systems respond by utilizing ASCs, home care, and partner hospitals to treat patients.

Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are now taking on extra elective procedures and gearing up to support hospitals as they focus on caring for COVID-19 patients.

This shift toward ASCs may put pressure on the business office as most surgery centers are already running lean during this pandemic.

The responsibility of rescheduling and financially clearing patients whose procedures have been postponed will inevitably fall on the business office teams.

It is worth noting that staffing shortages and burnout are still issues that facilities are confronting since the start of the pandemic.

Scheduling and registration departments, already stretched thin, are also dealing with much heavier workloads.

In the surgical industry, scheduling alone is a very complicated process which considers everything from room and equipment availability to the schedules of specialists like anesthesiologists and radiologists.

Amidst this fourth Covid surge and its financial effects, it is more crucial than ever that ASCs collect payments from patients in a timely and efficient way.

With surgical facilities running lean with thin margins, they need to be financially sustainable like any other business in order to continue to provide important healthcare services to those in need. They need to observe and mitigate growing patient balances in order to prevent future collection problems, as many patients find themselves struggling to pay their bills during the pandemic in the face of rising healthcare costs and economic uncertainty.

Successful patient-balance collections requires a focus on helping patients afford their medical care and a more humanized, patient-centric approach to managing patient balances.

To reduce the risk of delayed payments or even non-payment, ASCs need to hand-hold patients regarding their financial responsibilities and provide patients with flexible and personalized patient payment options.

According to Elavon’s 2021 Consumer Healthcare Report, patients are eager for payment options that help them manage their medical expenses, with 59% requiring recurring bill payments.

Making it simpler and more convenient for patients to afford and pay medical bills will result in increased collections and increased patient satisfaction.

How Mnet Can Help

Mnet Can Help
Mnet Can Help

Mnet fully understands the breadth of the situation facing the surgical industry and stands ready to help.

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.

With its First Party Billing Solutions, Mnet operates seamlessly with surgical facilities to increase patient satisfaction, prevent loss, and increase cash flow.

Mnet specializes in concierge patient financial services for patients needing surgery. Its Patient Financial Advocates (PFAs) are experienced and well-trained in translating for medical patients over the phone and can communicate in over 200 languages.

PFAs stand ready to help patients who want to make a payment, set up a payment plan, or need help understanding their bill.

By working with Mnet, surgical facilities are able to improve their processes to become more streamlined and patient-centric by utilizing patient billing solutions and payment technologies like PaySuite and Text-to-Pay. ASCs can benefit from:

  • Paperless registration processes
  • Text billing
  • Online patient portals
  • Integrated scheduling
  • Improved billing procedures

Conclusion

Mnet Elective Surgeries
Mnet Elective Surgeries

Having an RCM partner focus on patient payments and your revenue cycle can free up limited staff to focus on providing quality care and responding to patient care needs and to the needs of other departments.

During this extremely challenging time, Mnet stands ready as your additional boots on the ground for your business office.

As surgical facilities take spillover cases from hospitals restricting elective procedures, Mnet can help them stay ahead of growing patient balances and avoid future collection 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.