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Coronavirus and Collections

Of all the things that people in America have to worry about today, as we talk about self-quarantining, having enough supplies, and whether our jobs will still be there once the all-clear is given, worrying about medical bills for mandatory hospital stays might be closer to the bottom of the list than the top.

But for individuals who are forced to stay at a hospital because they might have coronavirus, the bills that come when the test comes back negative or the symptoms disappear are the surprise of surprise medical bills.

So much about our response to coronavirus is changing and evolving day by day and the questions that we never realized we needed answers to pop up in the strangest of places. Even the Centers for Disease Control declined to comment when asked about who should pay when a patient is kept in mandatory isolation because he or she possibly has coronavirus.

There have been pronouncements that testing for coronavirus will be covered by governments or a trade group of health insurers, but, at this point, there are still more questions than answers.

The impact of coronavirus on the healthcare and Revenue Cycle Management industries is only just scratching the surface and the full effects will likely not be known for months or longer. More bills, fewer employees, working from home, patients with less money to pay their bills because they lost their jobs. All of this and none of this may be the new normal.

A published report from earlier this month said that healthcare facilities are “already struggling to develop collection strategies in the era of high-deductible health plans and other cost-sharing arrangements.” (https://revcycleintelligence.com/news/how-covid-19-is-impacting-the-healthcare-revenue-cycle) One of the primary issues is trying institute these strategies at a time when governments and lawmakers are calling on medical providers to stop collecting on debts until after the crisis is over.

The best strategy for any interaction that a healthcare facility or its vendors have with an individual for any debt, whether it is tied to coronavirus or not, is to be compassionate. Understand that people are scared and be mindful of that when having conversations with patients about their financial situation. Additionally, ensure that all staff and vendors are reminded of the existing financial assistance policies, so that they are best able to assist your patients in need. Lastly, keep the lines of communications open with your patients as best as you can. Your staff, billing companies and collection agencies will play a critical role in calming the fears of your patients as they incur these unexpected medical costs, and the inability to speak with someone will only worsen their fears.

This journey is a long way from being over and things may get worse before they get better. Understanding the nuances of how coronavirus may be impacting patients and their financial situations will go a long way toward successfully managing this crisis and being able to come through on the other side.

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HCI Fast Facts

  • In business since 1992
  • Only serve healthcare providers
  • Meet HIPAA and PCI DSS compliance standards
  • All employees are trained and certified on their knowledge of the FDCPA, FCRA, TCPA, HIPAA and the emerging CFPB rules
  • Secure client portal
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  • Long-term client relationships
  • Low employee turnover

one of only 70 PPMS Certified collection agencies

PPMS Certified

PPMS is a management system for recovery agencies based upon developing, implementing and adhering to a set of strict industry-specific professional practices and policies.

PPMS certification, much like a SAS-70 audit, requires independent CPA attestation that an agency has in place written policies, procedures, and work processes that ensure regulatory compliance and adherence to industry best practices. The agency must also demonstrate that it has procedures in place to identify and remediate any variance from these. PPMS certified agencies are subject to annual surveillance and must re-certify every five years.

An agency that has voluntarily undergone the PPMS application and certification process is, quite simply, a better business partner than one which has not. This rigorous process results in:

  • Greater productivity/better recoveries
  • Increased efficiency for better customer service
  • Improved data security and physical security
  • Improved solutions to compliance issues
  • Enhanced disaster recovery
  • More effectively trained staff
  • Continuous measurement of client satisfaction
  • Faster resolution of client services issues
  • Company-wide commitment to quality assurance
  • Documented procedures for consistent performance

This strict accreditation insures that you as HCI clients, receive the very best service.

"Clients come to us when good isn't good enough. They demand the best. We love it and wouldn't have it any other way."
— Christian Lehr, VP/COO

HCI is a proud member of the following associations:
HCI Associations Recovery and Medical Associations Recovery and Medical Associations