September 23, 2008
nTelagent’s Self-Pay Management System Helps Emergency Departments and Patients Across the Country
Hospitals and other healthcare providers around the country are struggling to improve the management of self-pay patient accounts, and nowhere is the need for a solution more urgent than in the emergency department. In order to help providers better serve self-pay patients--those individuals who must pay all or a portion of their medical bill--nTelagent, Inc. has developed The Retail Application for the healthcare industry, called the Self-Pay Management System (SPMS). Similar to applications used in the retail industry at the point of sale, the company's proprietary, automated system tells healthcare registrars and financial counselors exactly what to do and what to say to each patient at the point of service regarding their out-of-pocket financial responsibilities.
According to nTelagent chairman and CEO Earl T. Winter: "Managing patient financial accounts is especially difficult in the emergency department environment, due to the inherently hectic atmosphere and the fact that many patients coming through the doors are self-pay and lack adequate information, such as ID or insurance cards. Imperfect registration and discharge procedures result in missed opportunities for upfront and overall collections, as well as misclassified charity care. In addition, there is often a failure to screen for financial assistance programs, such as Medicaid and other state and local social services programs." All of these factors result in mounting bad debt, threatening the financial viability of EDs across the country.
nTelagent's Retail Application improves upfront and overall cash flow in the ED and all healthcare provider environments by reducing bad debt and improving the revenue cycle process for self-pay patients. Specifically, using non-credit data SPMS verifies the patient's name and address while the patient is being assessed and treated by emergency staff. Verification of a patient's identity is given to patient access staff in a matter of seconds, with no need for the paper-based proofs of identity of yesterday. After assessment and treatment, SPMS determines patient payment responsibility, including offering price transparency for the healthcare provider's most common services, as well as discounting options. Interactive scripts are delivered instantaneously to the desktops of patient access staff, telling them exactly how to handle each account based on capacity to pay and the level of treatment they received.
"The scripts allow the staff member to completely resolve the patient portion of the account at the point of service, similar to how retail-based applications handle customer encounters at the point of sale," added Winter.
nTelagent's solution automatically identifies truly needy patients, and then alerts staff members to charity care options when applicable, and standardizes policies and procedures in the reporting of charity care numbers. In addition, patients without capacity to pay automatically are screened for local, state and government eligibility programs via SPMS, and the enrollment process can begin at point of service.
"Most importantly, nTelagent's system results in improved ED patient experiences by ensuring that all accounts are treated in a consistent, non-discriminatory manner, irrespective of a patient's financial profile, insurance status or healthcare condition," concluded Winter.
According to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, there were 119 million emergency room visits in 2006, up 36% over the last 10 years. During the same period, the number of emergency departments fell from 4,019 to 3,833.
About nTelagent, Inc.
nTelagent, Inc. has developed The Retail Application for the healthcare industry, called the Self-Pay Management System (SPMS). Similar to applications used in the retail industry at the point of sale, the company's proprietary, automated system tells healthcare registrars and financial counselors exactly what to do and what to say to each patient at the point of service regarding financial responsibilities. Moving workflow to the front end of the revenue cycle, nTelagent helps providers ensure a better patient experience through clearer communication and better handling of patient accounts, while improving upfront and overall cash flow, receivables and profitability by reducing bad debt. Using non-credit scoring data, SPMS provides interactive scripts that integrate patient demographic information with each provider's business policies and rules. The system allows for price transparency and automatically identifies discounting options, social services eligibility and charity care options when applicable, ensuring that patient financial accounting--for both insured and uninsured patients--is handled appropriately and consistently. Visit www.ntelagent.com for more information.