Sponsored by Banner Health
By Tori Wason
In health care, the only constant is change. Health care professionals strategically plan for technological advances, patients becoming consumers, governmental mandates, reimbursement cuts, and right when you think you have planned for everything; a pandemic happens. With all of this, how can patient access continue to increase revenue while creating a customer obsessed culture? Getting it right, at the right time, every time. Getting demographic and insurance information right the first time and prior to the patient’s arrival is key to reduce denials, touchpoints, collection efforts on the back end and bad debt.
In 2019, the Banner Imaging patient access team began evaluating tools and new processes to implement as a part of the larger Banner Revenue Modernization project. This started in 2019, with go-lives throughout 2020 and continued implementations and optimization will be coming our way this year.
Experian was the first software implemented for the Banner Imaging patient access team in 2020. This suite of products is a one-stop shop for eligibility verification, patient estimates and registration quality alerts and more. A real-time HL7 interface from the Fuji Radiology Information System (RIS) to Experian provides the team with instant eligibility results each time insurance information is updated in the RIS. Registration quality alerts (RQA) flag registration errors. These alerts come standard and can be customized allowing staff to correct these errors in real-time, which directly impacts the denials and multiple touches due to unnecessary re-work. Banner Imaging also implemented a patient estimation tool in Experian, which allows the team to run cost estimates based on the patient’s benefits and our contracts. Experian offers extensive reporting including, but not limited to, determine trends, training needs, staff development and missed collection opportunities. We will continue to add more Experian modules as we are looking at optimization. Medical necessity and an integrated payment plan option with Simplee by Flywire are among two of the modules on the horizon for future implementation.
Collecting payment before or on the patient’s date of service can be difficult in these times, but this practice is imperative to reducing the A/R, bad debt and back-end collection efforts. Banner Imaging offers patients flexible financing options through Curae to help increase those collections and ease the burden of stress for patients that may not have immediate funds to pay for their health care. Patients are presented with no interest and low monthly payment options and, once approved, they are able to use the funds at any Banner facility. The application process takes less than a few minutes and an offer is presented in seconds. Banner Imaging receives the payment for services and the patient continues their payment agreement with Curae. Offering more options to patients for payment can help secure payment for services sooner.
Price transparency is another focus in health care across the board. Patients are consumers of health care and want to ensure they are getting quality care at a reasonable price. Patients are empowered to make better decisions and advocate for their health care needs. Banner Imaging has a pre-services department to provide patients with their benefits and out-of-pocket costs, but having online options available 24/7 makes it easier for a patient to shop or receive an estimate at any time. Banner Imaging went live in 2020 with a self-serve patient price estimator through Simplee by Flywire. This tool is available on our website and provides the patient an opportunity to verify an estimate for services without having to contact a representative. Banner Imaging plans to continue to add more procedure codes to this tool and expand options for patients.
Banner Imaging patient access will continue down the path of relentless improvement as we look to optimize the tools in place and add additional tools to enhance the patient experience while driving down denials and increasing revenue. Through the projects, opportunities, and challenges, we keep our motto at the forefront: Getting it Right. At the Right Time. Every Time.
Tori Wason, CHAM, is the director of PAS operations for Banner Imaging.