For large integrated delivery networks like Atrium Health, providing excellent medical care for all patients, regardless of their ability to pay, is a priority.
In the face of increasing revenue pressures, Atrium needed a way to mitigate the financial risk of providing care to larger numbers of patients who were uninsured or underinsured or who participate in high-deductible health plans (HDHP). Atrium sought a flexible, scalable and compassionate way to extend patient financing while still serving its community mission.
Atrium is one of the leading healthcare organizations in the Southeast United States and one of the most comprehensive not-for-profit systems in the country. The system offers 900 care locations and records nearly 12 million patient interactions each year.
With the rise in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs)—as high as $6,550 for individuals and $13,100 for families annually—bad debt is increasing for numerous healthcare organizations. Today, many patients cannot afford to pay their healthcare bills without some form of financial assistance or payment plan.
Atrium sought a solution that would remove cost and financial anxiety as barriers to accessing medical care and services while protecting the organization’s financial health.
Atrium worked with AccessOne to develop a solution that would provide patient financing options to all patients, no matter their account balance or credit history.
Historically, Atrium had operated its own internal program for patients who needed financing plans of six months or less, working with AccessOne for all other cases. However, amidst a systemwide Epic installation that began in 2015, Atrium used the opportunity to reevaluate whether this was the right approach. The health system brought together AccessOne as well as its business process outsourcing partner and patient billing services partner to develop a custom solution.
Leaders for these organizations worked together to consolidate benefits verification, billing functions, payment plan processes, and even patient billing services, giving staff streamlined access to the data they need while supporting a cohesive, highly patient-centric experience. They also reassessed Atrium’s payment plan offerings and sought to simplify the health system’s payment plan approach while providing greater flexibility and continuity for patients.
Ultimately, Atrium Health determined that an internal payment plan program no longer met its needs. Instead, the health system worked with AccessOne to offer payment plans for all patients in need of flexible payment options.
In partnership with AccessOne, Atrium also offers a financial assistance program called Choice Outreach, designed to offer supplemental assistance for low-income patients whose care has not been covered in full through government funding. Atrium incorporates a number of financial assistance measures to help this high-needs population cover the cost of care.
Today, AccessOne continues to improve access to medically necessary services. Currently, 63,000 patients are enrolled in payment plans and the health system offers financial assistance to an additional 11,000 patients through Choice Outreach.
AccessOne manages more than $135 million in balances, dramatically reducing strain on Atrium’s call centers and simplifying financial discussions while improving patient satisfaction.
Other results include:
An 8 percent reduction in bad debt
A growth rate of 52 percent for patients opting into payment plans
A significant jump in the number of electronic opt-ins from zero to 16,000 patients
A 67 percent decrease in the time it takes to answer customer service calls
Today, patients are more actively engaged in managing their payments and more satisfied with their overall experience of care. Moreover, with more affordable financing options, Atrium has increased collection rates while enhancing community goodwill.