Self-pay management (SPM) seems to be one of the key topics that is being discussed at every healthcare conference. If you are just beginning to develop strategies around managing your self-pay… great! There are three key points that I believe you’ll want to consider when putting together a SPM strategy:
1. Categorize your self-pay.
It’s important to segment out your self-pay receivables, similar to developing strategies around denials management. For example, in order to discover trends in your self-pay, identify which self-pay accounts are associated with deductibles vs. patient balances from insurance not allowing 100% of your total charges. Once you do this, you can begin to develop specific benchmarks that target patient behaviors in order to increase your self-pay collections.
2. Consider a healthcare scoring solution.
A lot of healthcare companies are throwing ‘good money’ at accounts that are just bad-debt because the debtor has no intention of paying. There are several solutions available today that provide a patient healthcare score to help you target accounts with a higher propensity to pay. Remember that not all scoring solutions are the same, so be sure and run a comparative analysis between potential vendor partners.
3. Use regionalized collections efforts.
Find those early-out agencies and collection agencies who may collect delinquent accounts for a local hospital, local energy company, or the water company. These agencies already have a current database of debtor information that can assist in collecting on your healthcare debt. In my own experience, our company moved to a regional approach and experienced an increase in our self-pay collections greater than 10% in the first year of implementation.
There are many more advanced strategies that I’ll later discuss to help you continue refining your SPM process. However, consider these three key points vital when analyzing your self-pay. As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is expecting different results when doing the same thing over and over. Don’t let your self-pay management spin you into insanity.