Geisinger, a health system serving Pennsylvania and New Jersey, announced this week a new partnership with the digital financial service platform VisitPay.
The partnership will give Geisinger's 1.5 million customers and 13 hospitals a consolidated and personalized healthcare billing experience through VisitPay.
Its financial services integrate within existing electronic medical record systems and can equip internal revenue cycle teams with a customer service portal for employees to manage patient obligations, customer requests and internal workflow.
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Additionally, VisitPay's system uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to give patient payment recommendations. It also offers point-of-service devices to collect payments and co-pays up front.
For patients who are offline, the platform provides the option to choose between electronic or paper billing statements.
WHY THIS MATTERS
The COVID-19 pandemic has created "historic financial pressures for America's hospitals and health systems," according to the American Hospital Association.
The AHA estimated a financial impact of $202.6 billion in losses for hospitals and health systems between March and June as a result of COVID-19.
As a result, many hospitals and health systems are looking for ways to turn around their finances.
VisitPay has found that using greater price transparency and more personalized and convenient payment options may be the way to do so. The company conducted research showing that while healthcare providers experienced a 47% decline and daily total patient payments between March and May, those who used VisitPay's platform saw a 10% increase in patient payments.
The platform uses a five-point plan designed to give patients the flexibility they need while keeping them engaged in the financial cycle, ensuring providers sustain revenue.
The plan's points are to maximize self-service, communicate purposefully, make precise offers, target relief appropriately, and balance patient satisfaction and payment rate.
THE LARGER TREND
To help health systems recover financially from the pandemic, Congress allocated $175 million in the Provider Relief Fund of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and in the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act.
However, many hospitals are still feeling financial burdens and have asked for more assistance.
As they wait for aid, many hospitals have needed to reduce expenses through layoffs and furloughs. Others have created new strategies to recoup lost revenue, some of which include relying on telehealth to continue seeing patients, creating flexible workflows and ensuring positive patient engagements.
ON THE RECORD
"At Geisinger our sole focus is to make health easier for the communities we serve -- it is our North Star and guides all of our strategic decisions," said Kevin Roberts, the executive vice president and CFO at Geisinger. "Partnering with VisitPay is the latest step in that direction and highlights our mission to make healthcare more accessible for our patients, especially given the financial challenges caused by COVID-19. We are thrilled to roll out VisitPay's solutions as we feel they will be extremely beneficial to our communities."