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How to adapt to patient-friendly billing in the COVID-19 world

The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside-down in more ways than one. Many consumer behavior patterns have changed in the wake of the pandemic, primarily due to individuals spending so much more time at home now than they have in the past. Those patterns have afforded individuals with more time to do research, more time to ask questions, more time to become well-informed, especially about their medical bills and the options that may be available to them.

In response to this trend, healthcare providers would do well to monitor their interactions with individuals and make necessary adjustments to their scripts, policies and procedures, and arrangements with third-party collection agencies so proper preparations and arrangements can be made to account for a patient who is more sophisticated and understanding.

Healthcare facilities have been adapting their operations for years to address the financial component of a patient’s experience, by improving pricing transparency, offering more financing and payment options, providing more information about charity care, and having third-party collection agencies emphasize empathy in interactions with individuals who are not always able to pay their bills.

Patient-friendly billing is a lifecycle process that begins when an individual walks into a hospital or healthcare facility and continues well after the individual walks out. The COVID-19 crisis has provided those facilities with an opportunity to overhaul their processes and ensure that partnerships with outside vendors, like third-party collection agencies, are structured in such a way that the patient receives the same quality of care and information regardless of whomever that patient is speaking with.

Healthcare facilities and their vendor-partners need to understand that the coronavirus has caused a paradigm shift in consumer behavior that will not go away when the pandemic is finally over. Individuals who have lost their jobs and their health insurance will be facing more medical bills that will not be easy to repay.

This new dynamic will ratchet up the importance of developing patient-friendly billing procedures, including being more transparent about pricing and a patient’s financial responsibility at the time of admission to ensuring that collection agencies are being as helpful and understanding as possible. Individuals may be more knowledgeable now about their options than they were just a few short months ago, but that does not obviate the need for those individuals to be treated any differently.

Healthcare facilities should be engaging with all of their stakeholders to develop a consistent set of processes aimed at helping consumers through this difficult time. Collection agency partners are trained at communicating with individuals who are experiencing financial difficulties and should be an important part of the process of building those strategies and deploying them.


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  • In business since 1992
  • Only serve healthcare providers
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  • All employees are trained and certified on their knowledge of the FDCPA, FCRA, TCPA, HIPAA and the emerging CFPB rules
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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.

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— Christian Lehr, VP/COO

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HCI Associations Recovery and Medical Associations Recovery and Medical Associations