You likely chose a career in medicine because you are dedicated to helping patients and offering high-quality care. But many physicians have seen their roles change as healthcare insurance and patient payment options have evolved. If you don’t want to work as a healthcare professional and a billing specialist, then you are not alone.
Medical care here in the U.S. is becoming increasingly unaffordable for everyone. In 1960, healthcare costs across the country added up to $27.2 billion dollars or approximately $146 per person. Data from 2016 now lists U.S. healthcare costs at $3.3 trillion and $10,348 per person. While medical bills have always been challenging for patients without health insurance, changes to the U.S. healthcare system mean that those with coverage now also struggle with out-of-pocket costs. In responses to 2017 polls, 43% of adults say they struggle to afford their deductible, and 73% of those surveyed said they cut back on spending on groceries, clothing, or household items in an attempt to pay their medical bills.
When medical bills become too overwhelming for patients to handle, their providers are often forced to pursue payment – even to the detriment of the patient/provider relationship. Many doctors have stories of patients avoiding their calls once the bill becomes due, or having to hire extra staff simply to handle payment collections.
Epic River wants to make the process simpler for everyone involved. Our Patient Lending solution connects physicians, hospitals and other practices with local financial institutions to provide patients with low-interest medical loans. You are paid the entire cost of a procedure up front, while your patient works with the bank to find a payment plan that fits his or her budget. We call it a win-win-win.
Why Patient Financing Solutions Matter
High healthcare costs can prove to be a challenge for everyone involved. Studies show that a large portion of Americans will avoid or postpone medical care to avoid the financial burden that comes with it. If they do move forward with a procedure, they may still have to choose between covering medical bills or affording basic necessities like food or rent. Understandably, they will often choose the latter. This leaves hospital staff without fair compensation for their time and effort – not to mention the task of trying to find a solution. The data shows that this problem affects providers across the spectrum.
A Burden for Independent Practices
For those who choose to work in a private practice, unpaid medical bills can be an enormous issue. A 2015 study showed that reimbursement is the number one challenge independent providers have when it comes to staying in business. Patients’ inability to pay has become so restrictive that many doctors have abandoned private practice altogether. According to 2016 data from the American Medical Association, less than half of all physicians surveyed were self-employed, instead working with groups or hospitals, which have better resources when it comes to closing the gap between treatment and payment.
A Loss for Hospitals
Large facilities aren’t immune to the troubles of expensive medical care and patient nonpayment either. A 2015 study of more than 700 outpatient facilities and hospitals reported more than $100 million lost in unpaid services. The Journal of American Medical Association published more recent data in February 2018 stating that primary care physicians working within academic healthcare systems lose around 15% of their revenue to billing activities.
Why Choose Epic River Patient Lending
There are easier, smarter, and downright better ways to handle medical billing. Epic River Patient Lending is undoubtedly one of them. We can connect your hospital or healthcare practice to a local financial institution and provide a user-friendly platform at no cost. Your patients will then have access to simple and fair healthcare loans and your practice will be paid quickly and in full. We even offer secure systems like Finastra ProSign® to streamline the process with eSignature services and fast, confidential document sharing. Contact Epic River today to learn more and run your healthcare business better with our Patient Lending solution!