Across the nation, restaurant workers, service workers, and more are grappling with sudden loss of income amid efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus. For many consumers, the economic stress of the coronavirus response weighs heavily on their minds: 54 percent say they are not prepared to manage the financial impact of the outbreak.
We are in close touch with our health system partners to collaborate on how best to respond to support our existing customers—both consumers and healthcare organizations—and all those who need patient financing services in this environment. Many healthcare organizations are considering temporary modifications to policies around the use of collection agencies, credit reporting and other collection tactics.
AccessOne recognizes these concerns—and we’ve taken steps to safely maintain continuity in our services for consumers with medical debt while strengthening one-to-one support for those in need. I’d like to share with you some actions we’re taking to sustain and expand our positive patient financial experience for our partner health systems and our common patient consumers.
Extended customer service hours. We’re available to our customers 24/7 online and via an automated phone system that can perform key functions. Use of our virtual engagement tools has increased during this stage of the pandemic, but some consumers still need additional live-voice support at this time. Our contact center hours—from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Monday through Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. Eastern on Saturdays—offer consumers a wide range of availability for one-to-one customer service, no matter their employment schedule or family responsibilities.
Maintaining business continuity. At AccessOne, we’re doing everything we can to help contain the spread of the coronavirus while ensuring consumers receive the personalized support for which our company is known. Steps we’ve taken include:
- Providing laptops and other technology to assist staff in working remotely
- Cross-training staff on the east and west coasts to serve as backup for other employees, if needed
- Working with our critical subcontractors to ensure they have business continuity plans in place to avoid service disruption
- Monitoring information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and federal, state and local agencies to inform the actions we are taking to protect the health of our employees and our communities
- Communicating regularly with our employees to keep them informed and to assure their safety and that of our clients and patients
- Sustaining our ability to implement services, train hospital staff, and hold account management meetings with our hospital clients via web-based tools
These are just a few examples of the efforts we’ve made to keep vital services running at a time when healthcare organizations and consumers need them.
Continued self-service options for account management. The situation regarding the coronavirus is evolving—and so, too, are the ways in which consumers will be impacted economically. Now more than ever, flexible monthly payment amounts and self-service options give consumers a sense of empowerment over their medical payments. With AccessOne, patients have the ability to self-enroll in patient payment plans and adjust the terms of their plans, when needed (for instance, temporarily moving to a lower monthly payment amount with interest vs. a higher payment amount with 0 percent interest).
A variety of payment options. Patients’ preferred approach to payment varies. Some pay their bills via a patient portal, while a portion of our customers still prefer paper check payments. Our technology enables consumers to select from a variety of payment options according to their preference. Additionally, our staff are specially trained to navigate complex financial discussions. We assist consumers in combining multiple bills into a single account for increased ease in managing their healthcare expenses. We also are prepared to offer help during times of crisis, such as by waiving late fees for consumers facing economic turmoil.
At AccessOne, we are dedicated to meeting the needs of consumers, particularly in times of stress. We hope our patient-centric approach to financial services will provide continued peace of mind for our customers and employees. Please reach out and let us know how we can best support you.