Apex founder and CEO Brian Kueppers is often asked what he considers to be some of the biggest challenges affecting healthcare organizations. In Apex’s recently published HFMA business profile, he addresses this question:
In my opinion, the single biggest financial challenge is the massive increase in patient responsibility. Over the past five years, patient payment has grown 68 percent across the industry, representing $420 billion. This dramatic shift is causing healthcare leaders serious concern as they start to think about how their organizations are going to manage the change. Historically, healthcare organizations have not paid much attention to educating patients on their fiscal responsibility and proactively collecting copays, deductibles, and coinsurance. However, with the rapid growth of high-deductible health plans, organizations are quickly realizing the benefits of engaging patients early and often in financial discussions—informing individuals up front of what they owe and working with them to collect payment in a timely manner.
Compounding the challenges of patient payment growth is the fact that organizations are already operating with razor thin margins, and financial staff are continuously overtaxed in keeping abreast of new regulations, payer requirements, and reimbursement strategies. This is not the most optimal environment in which to establish a new patient-focused business process, especially if that process warrants an investment in automated solutions.