After my years of experience as an enterprise technology consultant to Fortune 500 Bank and Pharma care companies, I started PatientCharge with the intention of bringing enterprise technology to small businesses at an affordable price. Located in Boston, PatientCharge is a vendor agnostic, technology provider and systems integrator with over 25 years experience serving dental and medical offices. Our core expertise in automated payment solutions, office telecommunications, and cloud computing helps small to medium practices leverage technology to reduce their costs, and increase profits. Because medical professionals are busy with the complexities involved in patient care, many medical practices are lagging in technology, from how they accept patient payments, to office systems and communications. We are authorized agents of TransEngen, Avaya, Nortel, Cisco, Microsoft, Dell, NPC and FirstData. Because of our relationships with these best of breed technologies, we’re able to tailor specific solutions to the needs of every practice.
The most common problem we find, most practices require a technology based solution to integrate with their practice management system in order to help automate patient payments, and increase their ability to collect at the point of service! Patient Charge specializes in helping both dental and medical practices automate their payment system, and increase patient payment collection. A plain credit card terminal just doesn’t serve a practice the way it needs to run effectively. For many years it seems that the healthcare industry has been under-served when it comes to payment capture and processing technology. There’s been a long struggle for medical practices trying to collect fair compensation for their services from both insurance, and patients. Patient collections have always been a problem, but until recently they only represented 8% of the practice revenue. Enough to warrant collection efforts. A couple of years ago, that changed from 8% to 30%, and so patient payments are now just as important as insurance payments. Seeing these changes take place, I realized it was the time to help healthcare practices automate their payment systems so as to ensure timely and accurate payments from both insurance AND patients.
My respect and appreciation for the hard work and stresses of medical doctors started from a young age. My late father, Dr. Pan Michael Zafiropoulos, was a well-respected urological surgeon who specialized in Prostate Cancer treatment, and saved many people’s lives who were in later stages of the disease. I was lucky enough to see it in person as my brothers and I helped him around the office in the Summers and saw all the patients coming in and how they were really appreciative of his help. He worked very hard and long hours each day to ensure the health of all his patients, whether they could afford to see him or not. Sadly, like so many other MD’s, his biggest stress wasn’t from working the long hours in the operating room or examining patients in his office each day. But, rather it was the daily grind of trying to ensure proper payment by insurance companies and patients so that he was reimbursed fairly and timely for all the procedures he performed.
He and his staff spent hours each morning on the phone in order to verify the eligibility and coverage of the 30 patients set to be seen that afternoon. This was in addition to the hours at night sending out bills to patients who either didn’t have insurance, or didn’t have full coverage for procedures performed. More than half of those patients never paid their bill, and most insurance companies paid him half of his fees either for incorrect billing codes, or because they didn’t feel he deserved his rate. When he sent patient debt to collections, he was lucky to recoup $15 for every $100 owed. I felt awful seeing how hard he worked, let alone all the years of schooling he went through, it seemed only fair a doctor should be paid more than a plumber, electrician, lawyer and insurance company executive! After all, the collective years of schooling combined for all 4 of these professions didn’t equal the same amount of time compared to that of an MD!
As if doctors don’t have enough overhead between high malpractice insurance premiums, maintaining an office, equipment and staff. They also have to fight to get paid from both patients AND health insurers! Seeing my father’s pains first hand, I felt there had to be a better way for doctors to be paid fairly and timely for all their hard work. In the last 2 years, patient responsibility for payment has risen from 8% to 30%, and this percentage is expected to grow even more over time. It is now even more imperative that proper, and efficient billing systems are implemented for a medical practice to survive!
There have been some new technologies developed over the last few years that now help medical practices check insurance eligibility, and that has helped reduce billing code errors and improved physician reimbursement from Insurers. But, collection efforts of patient balances has gone up considerably. Regular credit card terminals only work for collecting a small portion or co payment at time of visit. But that solution doesn’t help collect the bigger balance mailed out to the patient 30 – 60 days after their visit. Medical bills are the last to be paid because they don’t affect the credit rating of consumers. Only 50% of these bills are ever paid at all!
We help custom tailor a web based software program for your practice – that dramatically improves your patient payments right at the point of service. From a a fully integrated eligibility AND payment system that interfaces with PMS/EMR Systems so that your office can verify & estimate patient insurance coverage within 20 seconds, and shows the patient balance owed after a specific procedure. The patient can then pay the entire balance with their credit, debit, check, or ACH account, OR they sign a pre printed agreement that gives authorization to the medical office to charge their card a set amount each month until the balance is paid in full. This system THEN automatically posts payment data into a patient’s record, avoiding double data entry. In a tough economy, more and more patients aren’t able to afford going to the doctor, let alone paying their balance at time of visit. A practice can eliminate the need for collection efforts, billing costs and drastically increase their bottom line! Having the ability to set up a HIPAA compliant recurring payment system for patients encourages repeat business, and creates happier patients who can get treatment in an affordable manner!
With the Revenue Maximizer Plus system: A practice increases insurance claim collections with accurate estimates, increase patient collections, increase staff efficiency, reduce billing and collection costs, and drastically reduce patient bad debt! This is the only mature, fully integrated product on the market that handles both eligibility and payment processing. Practices can work with a local VAR (Value Added Reseller) like PatientCharge to help integrate this invaluable system with their current EMR, and practice management software.
My father passed away in 2002 of a rare illness, and so he couldn’t be here today to see the advancement in technologies like these that help make managing a medical practice easier. I’m certain that technologies like these would have prolonged his life by many more years. The stress associated with managing the business side of a medical practice doesn’t exactly help doctors live long lives. I feel strongly that these proven solutions are making a difference in the medical community so that doctors CAN start living longer lives, and allow them to focus their energy on treating patients again. Although not a total victory for doctors in receiving higher reimbursement rates from insurance carriers, it is a big victory for doctors who utilize technology solutions to automate their office systems and drastically increase their overall bottom line. Best of all, the ROI on these technologies far out way the cost!