Marvin Mickelson, the system director of shared revenue cycle at The University of Kansas Health System (UKHS), recently spoke with HealthLeaders Editor Alexandra Wilson Pecci about the health system’s response to COVID-19 and how these practices will remain for the foreseeable future. 

Like communities nationwide, Kansas City felt the impact of the pandemic through unemployment and loss of job-based health coverage. “As our call centers fielded a number of calls from patients who told us they had lost their jobs because of the pandemic, we knew we had to make some changes to our financial services approach to ease the financial stress patients were feeling,” Mickelson said.  

Marvin and his team adapted a new patient financial strategy focused on one vital point – flexibility. By being flexible in their new revenue cycle practices, the system was able to illustrate compassion and loyalty to their patients during uncertain times. Marvin spoke to four examples of how his patient financial department demonstrated this necessary trait: 

  • UKHS Immediately offered a 30%-50% discount to help patients pay for care.
     
  • They offered longer term payment plans with affordable monthly payments to cover their outstanding bills.
     
  • Team leads trained staff to handle complex financial conversations with patients.
     
  • Staff members reminded patients about their ability to consolidate both hospital and physician bills as well as the system’s generous charity policies.
       

The results are noticeable. Because of these new approaches, UKHS has seen a decrease in bad debt during the pandemic as well as a drop in A/R days. Additionally, recourse rates with their payments plans remain extremely low. 

To learn more, read 3 Ways to Increase Revenue and Reduce Bad Debt During COVID-19.