Revenue Cycle Will Be Key to COVID Recovery. One Place to Start: Patient Payments

With hospitals facing $323 billion in COVID-19-related costs this year, more than half of hospital CFOs plan to cut expenses by more than 10%—and four-in-five CFOS are taking a hard look at their revenue cycle, a recent survey shows. 

To be sure, hospitals already are drilling down on cost reduction, given the deep impact on revenue from postponed procedures and the expense of preparing hospital teams and facilities for their COVID-19 response. Now, there is a need for more advanced cost improvement strategies. That’s why revenue cycle optimization is a top focus for 78% of CFOs, according to the survey. 

But executing on these and other cost-reduction strategies presents real challenges for CFOs, including around lack of bandwidth to manage improvements (29%) and competing priorities (27%), survey results show. It also strains already-burdened resources. 

One place where CFOs should shine a spotlight on revenue cycle optimization is around patient payments. 

The right infrastructure for patient financial engagement—including added flexibility around payment plan options—could make a deep impact on consumers’ confidence not just in paying for their care, but also in determining whether to seek treatment. An AccessOne survey shows: 

  • 68% of consumers are worried about their ability to pay for general medical expenses this year 
  • Three-in-four consumers are worried they will lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic, and more than half fear they will lose their health insurance 
  • 58% say they would consider delaying a non-emergency but medically necessary surgery this year due to cost concerns 

In an environment of economic uncertainty, medical expenses do not rank high on consumers’ list of priorities, AccessOne’s research shows. As a result, hospitals could face greater difficulty collecting from consumers during the pandemic.  

Flexible patient financing options change the game—especially during the pandemic. They help consumers find supportive options that meet their financial needs, giving them the confidence to get the care they need 

A strategy of proactive and all-inclusive financial support – offering zero-interest and a range of lower monthly payment plans with low interest – ultimately helps patients make health-driven choices for care without fear of financial implications. It’s an approach that not only enables consumers to avoid health complications, but also positions hospitals for COVID-19 financial recovery.  

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