MainStreet Family Care reduced ties to paper statements to unleash its growth potential
MainStreet Family Care’s mission is to bring affordable, high-quality care and make it accessible to underserved pockets of their mostly rural locations. While MainStreet functions as an urgent care company, for many of its patients they serve more like a primary care provider. Many of their patients are repeat patients.
MainStreet Family Care has tapped into a clear need in the market. Since opening its first location in Alabama in 2015, the company has steadily grown to 22 locations across Alabama and Georgia, with plans to enter neighboring markets in the coming months. While all locations operate under an urgent care model, they also have a primary care component and some focus predominantly on pediatric patients.
Paper statements are costly and slow collection of patient payments
To achieve its ambitious growth goals, MainStreet Family Care had major revenue cycle challenges to overcome. They primarily relied on paper statements as their main payment collection channel.
As a result, the overall cost to collect from patients was costing them approximately $6 per statement when factoring in printing paper, stamps, the need for a lockbox, the manual labor to post physical checks, dealing with returned mail, and more. And worse, because paper was costly and inefficient, MainStreet felt they needed to improve their cash flow and days in AR.
“The quicker that we’re able to get that capital in, the quicker and easier it makes it for us to open a new clinic,” says Drew Smith, Director of Revenue Cycle. “If you’re not collecting payment upfront, it becomes more difficult to collect and then the longer it takes it just gets increasingly harder.”
A new SMS-based patient payment channel reduced paper statements by 11%
Instead of relying on the same old ineffective patient payment channels, Smith and his team at MainStreet set out to find a better way to collect patient payments. After looking at a few vendors they chose MobilePay and rolled it out to patients in 2019.
“It’s a lot easier to get a correct phone number than a fully correct address,” Smith says.
One of the things that was attractive about MobilePay versus similar patient payment solutions they evaluated was the laser focus on making the product super easy for patients to pay their bills without bundling in unnecessary features. Plus, MobilePay’s pricing only charges MainStreet for successfully delivered SMS statements.
“If we don’t have a good mobile number for the patient, we don’t get charged for that,” he says. Paper statements with bad addresses, however, still need to be printed, they still require postage, and when they get returned to MainStreet, the revenue cycle team still has to chase down the payment via phone calls or other means.
“MobilePay just made sense in order to lower our cost to collect,” says Smith.
Despite some initial skepticism over whether patients would pay their bills via a new text messaging-based payment channel, the last two years of positive results has Smith and the revenue team singing a different tune.
As a result of MobilePay, they now delay sending a paper statement for five full days after the statement file is generated. Almost 15% of all their patient statements are paid through MobilePay and more than 80% of that bucket is paid before a paper statement is even printed.
Smith estimates they’ve reduced paper statement volume by 11% since rolling out MobilePay.
“Not only is it speeding up our payment collections,” Smith says, “but it’s kind of difficult to quantify the entire impact that MobilePay has on our revenue cycle.”
He explains that aside from simply paying their bills via MobilePay, patients can also easily call MainStreet with questions right from the payment screen. A large portion of patients that are viewing their statements via text end up calling to make a payment over the phone or update their insurance information.
“While we don’t see that necessarily reflected on the dashboard, it is a reflection of sending those text messages,” notes Smith. “MobilePay has even made
our call center a better performing channel.”
With patients now paying bills faster before paper is even printed or engaging with the billing cycle via the call center, MainStreet Family Care has created the right operational and financial foundation over the last two years to improve its cash flow and allow them to focus on their growth plans across Alabama and into new markets.