With the current healthcare landscape in a state of flux, many ASCs have questions about how to navigate their business operations and maintain connection with patients. COVID-19 has put surgery centers in an unprecedented position, with many struggling to determine the answers to critical operational questions like, “Do we hold off on submitting insurance claims?” “Do we hold off on collections?” “Do we hold off on patient communication until we know more?” The truth of the matter is, to preserve patient relationships and financial viability, ASCs must act–now.
START THE CONVERSATION
In uncertain times like these, patients are in search of answers. While ASCs may be unable to provide this at all levels, centers should focus on initiating conversations with the information they do have, like:
- Mission of the center and focus on patient care
- Strategy for reopening, including prioritization of procedure types
- Health and safety precautions being taken by the center
- How patients can confirm and/or reschedule their procedures
- Resources for questions regarding billing and payment
Although typical procedures may be at a standstill, maintaining lines of communication with current and prospective clients will provide reassurance and solidify confidence in your ASC. Using empathetic, transparent, and authoritative communication will project a united front that patients can rely on. This approach will not only build a trusting rapport with patients, but set the precedent for the standard of care they can expect once center operations begin to resume.
A major factor in delivering a positive patient experience is setting expectations, not just for procedures, but for what comes after. Even in times of relative normality, establishing post-procedure expectations regarding payment, insurance and patient responsibility can be difficult. ASCs have a unique opportunity to use this time to begin two-way conversations, and address payment topics that can bring discomfort or unpleasant surprises later. Communicating how insurance billing and patient responsibility work, along with payment options like patient financing, can mitigate insecurities among patients. Sharing this information ahead of time can also increase the likelihood of a smooth experience and retained revenue for centers as well, providing peace of mind for patients and creating certainty around their responsibilities.
In all conditions, establishing an open line of communication with patients is critical for success. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has created some uncertainty for surgery centers, it has also initiated a unique opportunity to connect with patients and establish tangible, reassuring plans for the future. By starting conversations and setting expectations, ASCs can work to not just protect their revenue cycles during this difficult time, but foster a positive patient experience from start to finish.
BHG Patient Lending specializes in helping ASCs maximize revenue, decrease costs, and improve the patient experience. For more tips on how to maintain financial stability amid COVID-19, download our free e–book here.