HFMA: Self-pay receivables on the rise at hospitals

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Hospitals have suffered significant increases of self-pay accounts receivables compared to the prior fiscal year, according to a survey conducted by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) this month.

One-third of the 92 facilities surveyed reported that self-pay receivables are mounting more rapidly than patient revenue, while only 10 percent reported the contrary.

According to HFMA, the escalating number of self-pay receivables has put a damper on hospital performance.

Recorded results from 92 hospital executives found that 45 percent of small hospitals with 100 beds or less were the most likely to undergo a 10 percent or greater swell in self-pay, compared to 36 percent of the surveyed facilities overall.

It was also reported that 64 percent of these small hospitals saw a self-pay balance after an insurance increase of 10 percent, compared to 39 percent of overall facilities.

Emergency department’s self-pay figures have amplified the most, according to HFMA. While 88 percent of these facilities reported a rise in self-pay accounts, only 5 percent reported a decline.

Of the respondents, 72 percent said that they allocate “moderate” or “substantial” efforts regarding point-of-service collection in their facility, while only 50 percent of those who shifted costs to point-of-service collections saw a decrease in the cost-to-collect performance indicator.

Fifty-five percent reported an immense difficulty in estimating the cost of charges, while 41 percent reported constraints regarding technology and 28 percent reported a difficulty with gaining internal buy-in to ask for payments at the time of service.

HFMA reported that in response to market trends, 85 percent of facilities have increased their collection efforts, while 75 percent have increased the accessibility of financial counselors to assist their patients.

HFMA offered that facilities should utilize aspects of technology for high-volume transactions, dedicate IT staff to revenue cycles and make better use of surveys to gain customer perspective.