Increasing regulatory oversight puts hospital collections under the microscope
Patient receivables are escalating at a rapid rate, leading hospitals to rely more heavily on outside collection agencies than ever before. At the same time, consumer regulations that add layers of protection for patients and guarantors have led to more stringent compliance requirements for these agencies, and ultimately for the hospitals that hire them. The result? Hospitals are now exposed to significant legal, reputational and financial risk – and may not even be aware of this looming issue.
The common business practice of debt collections has not always been so common in healthcare, but converging market trends have forced hospitals to chase unpaid patient balances in a more proactive and strategic manner.
Increasing patient financial responsibility has led to a sharp rise in medical debt among U.S. consumers, sparking an added operational challenge for healthcare organizations that cannot afford to ignore any outstanding accounts receivable (A/R). Nor can healthcare organizations afford to ignore the risks.
The regulatory environment is changing rapidly to add layers of protection for patients and guarantors, and hospitals that are out of touch or have unfocused compliance practices are likely exposing themselves to legal and financial trouble.
Regulatory compliance is even more difficult for the many hospitals that outsource their collections efforts to third-party agencies. While the practice has its obvious advantages, it must be managed with the same rigor as the in-house business office.
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