Communication Templates That Boost Patient Collections

By Carol Ciluffo and Stacy Danahy, RN

Looking to improve point of service collections at your ambulatory surgery center?

Put yourself in a patient’s shoes and read everything your patients read about financial responsibility at your ASC—brochures, website pages, text messages, and portal messages. Are these materials crystal clear?

If you’ve found some areas for improvement, don’t beat yourself up. After all, patient responsibility discussions often require that you discuss health insurance.

And health insurance is filled with baffling language the patient may understand only vaguely–terms like coinsurance, copay, and deductible.

Your patient-facing materials have a big job to do. They must teach or remind insured patients how health insurance works and help patients understand what they must pay out of pocket for their upcoming surgical procedures.

Clear patient communication has a big operational payoff, observes Compass RCM Director Carol Ciluffo. If patients understand their financial responsibility well before the day of the procedure, your ASC’s registration desk has a much easier job to do. And patient experience improves because they can focus solely on their healing on surgery day.

Stacy Danahy, RN, VP of Operations at Compass, suggests these templates that you can adapt for your ASC.

Template #1: Brochure, Web Site

“About Your Bill

Your bill with us covers the use of the facility and all necessary supplies used during your surgical procedure.

Your contractual obligation with your health insurance carrier requires that you pay any deductible, copays, and coinsurance that you owe. You may pay our facility over your secure patient financial portal before the surgery or at our registration desk when you check in for surgery.

We accept debit cards, HSA debit cards, and major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover), as well as personal checks.

Our facility works with your doctor’s office to make sure we have accurate insurance information. Our financial team will contact your insurance carrier 5-7 days before your surgery to confirm with your insurer what you owe our facility out-of-pocket based upon your current insurance benefits.

During the week leading to your surgery, will let you know what you owe on your secure patient financial portal, which you can reach through links we send to you via emails and texts. You’ll know the messages are from us because you’ll see [insert ASC name] in the sender line on emails. Texts from our surgery center will come to you from our [insert phone number that will appear on text messages] phone number.

Prefer to pay over the phone? Simply call [insert phone number] to reach one of our financial counselors.”

Pro Tip: Don’t confuse patients by calling financial responsibility an “estimate.”

This term unnecessarily confuses the patient and may lead them to believe their payment is due after surgery.

Use “pre-procedure billing statement” instead to help patients understand that their bill is due now, Stacy suggests.

Template #2: Text Message

“You have received a pre-procedure billing statement for your upcoming procedure. This amount is due prior to your procedure. To view your statement, please click the link below. By clicking this link listed below, you agree to continue receiving text messages. Your case key is [insert case key here, and then http link]. Reply STOP to unsubscribe. Reply RESEND if you have trouble clicking the link.”

Template #3: Patient Financial Portal

“Thank you for choosing [insert ASC name here] for your surgical procedure. We have verified your insurance policy and benefits. Your anticipated out-of-pocket cost is outlined below. Please contact our insurance verification team at xxx-xxx-xxxx with any questions. Our normal business hours are x:xx - x:xx Monday- Friday.”

Below the itemized list and the total, consider:

“This amount is due prior to your surgical procedure. The Surgery Center is contractually obligated to collect this amount, based on your insurance policy. This amount is for the charges for the Surgery Center only and is based on your scheduled procedure and benefit information your insurance company has provided to us. You may receive separate bills from your surgeon, anesthesiologist and for any lab or pathology services associated with your surgery.”

Want to get more great tips for improving RCM at your ASC? Contact us to learn more.

Our mission is to create strong partnerships that improve the lives of patients and providers.

Compass Surgical Partners