Fill in the Blanks on Your Bottom Line

Identifying & Securing Funding for Uncompensated Care

Since 2000, hospitals of all types have provided more than $367 billion in uncompensated patient care.* The amount of uncompensated care has increased incrementally by more than a billion dollars each year for the past 10 years, leaving no organization immune to the pervasive impact of care gone unpaid. There’s no doubt your organization is missing crucial dollars at the bottom line each and every month of the year.

This problem is so large and so familiar, there’s a perception that all hospitals can do is write off the uncompensated services and carry on. However, there are ways to right the wrongs and fight bad debt. With today’s technology and a range of programs for underinsured and uninsured patients, you can identify and secure funding to fill in at least some of the blanks on your bottom line.

1. Start at the beginning
Begin the conversation about payment at the first point of patient contact whenever appropriate, going beyond basic insurance verification to offer education about payment options and explore possible coverage opportunities. Let patients know right away that you offer payment plans and online and over-the-phone alternatives for their convenience. The more patients are informed, the more likely they will be comfortable to take action when the time comes.

2. Be the patient’s advocate
Remember that patients are typically unfamiliar with the workings of the healthcare system, especially the financial side of matters. Assume the role of leader, offering guidance and helpful ideas and information to patients who want to pay but may think they are unable to do so. Prioritize financial counseling and payment flexibility so that you can be an ally and advocate to patients.

3. Shine the light on coverage options
Many patients may be eligible for some kind of coverage yet not even realize it. Recent studies by the Foundation for Health Coverage Education (FHCE) found that nearly 80 percent of people surveyed who came into an Emergency Room were eligible for a publicly funded program, while 20 percent qualified for private coverage (including COBRA plans). As the provider organization, you should have and become nimble in using resources for identifying public and private coverage, as well as in helping patients enroll for coverage for which they are eligible. A good tool to start with is FHCE’s Health Coverage Quiz found at

4. Use data to manage bad debt
Use financial data you collect about patients to manage the risk of uncompensated care. With specific, detailed intelligence, you may be able to tailor interactions to garner more payment while putting patients at ease. For example, track patients by length of stay and frequency of encounters to identify those accruing more burdensome debts. Flag patients who have limited or high deductible coverage as they will be facing large out-of-pocket costs. In these cases, provide specialized financial counseling upfront and perhaps even wellness solutions after discharge to aid in the minimization of the need for prolonged care.

5. Don’t go it alone
Combating uncompensated care takes time and resources that you and your staff may not have to spare, though the effort is well worth the investment. Rather than increase staff, you can outsource your up-front eligibility screening, coverage enrollment and back-end reviews for undiscovered eligibility. Chamberlin Edmonds®, an Emdeon company, is a recognized industry leader and offers a range of tools, services and technology delivered turnkey to your organization, vastly reducing uncompensated care. Chamberlin Edmonds’ solutions work as an extension of your organization to seamlessly help capture compensation you might never have secured on your own.

Ready to fill in the blanks on your bottom line? Visit today to explore solutions that will really add up for your organization...and your patients.

*American Hospital Association

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