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Stop Cutting Costs: 4 Other Ways to Bolster the Bottom Line

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, August 22, 2011

The result: a 30% reduction in square footage, from 110,000 to 75,000 square feet, without any loss to the intended number of workspaces or programs. In essence, they cut out the fat. The project was completed on time and within the $75 million budget.

3. Bye-bye bad debt: The days are gone when patients had no clue how much their care cost and how much insurance companies paid for it. Insurance deductibles and co-pays are on the rise, and more uninsured or underinsured patients are paying medical costs out of pocket.

Naturally that means financial leaders are seeing
bad debt continue to rise. Nearly 90% of organizations in an American Hospital Association survey reported increased bad debt and charity care as a percentage of gross revenue in 2010.  This trend is unlikely to ease anytime soon, with healthcare reform introducing 20 million to 40 million new patients into the healthcare system.

Getting your up-front collections process in order and collecting every dollar possible from your self-pay patients is essential. Yet when was the last time you quantified your true self-pay collection rate?

Centura Health, Colorado's largest healthcare provider, set up a progressive incentive structure for its customer-facing staff to improve up-front collections. A team of financial counselors helps customers complete insurance verifications and authorizations before scheduled procedures, reminds patients of any past-due balances, and determines the patient's portion of the bill due at time of service. Through this effort, Centura Health collected about $1.5 million at the point of service in 2010, more than triple what it brought in two years prior.

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