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TransUnion "Pulse Poll" Reveals Untapped Opportunity in Hospital Point-of-Service Collections

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Aug 17, 2011) - According to a recent TransUnion Healthcare "pulse poll" distributed to more than 300 attendees of the Healthcare Financial Management Association's (HFMA) Annual National Institute (ANI) conference, lack of preparedness and awareness on both sides of the payment equation are causing major challenges for point-of-service collections efforts.

Seven out of 10 respondents said their hospital or health system collected less than 30 percent of their payments at the point of service. Nearly half (44 percent) of respondents said less than 15 percent of payments were collected prior to service. Of payments that go to the back-end for collections, eight in 10 respondents said less than 60 percent of payments were made. In fact, nearly one-quarter of those polled said recover rates were between 0 and 15 percent.

"Traditionally, hospitals have focused their financial attention on collecting payment after the patient care cycle has been completed, which can be incredibly time intensive and expensive," said Milton Silva-Craig, executive vice president of TransUnion Healthcare. "Our poll confirmed there is significant opportunity in point-of-service collections, given the drastic disparity between front-end collections and back-end recovery rates."

For hospitals and health systems, the two biggest challenges for collecting payment at the point-of-service are determining what is owed (37 percent) and preparing and training staff to ask for payment (35 percent), according to respondents. Those polled said the most significant hurdles for patients when it comes to paying at the point-of-service are lack of preparedness (37 percent), lack of education (25 percent) and inability to afford payment (21 percent).

"Hospital staff should communicate the patient's financial responsibility prior to service and registrars should be well trained and enabled to ask patients for payment in a way that doesn't compromise the care experience," said Silva-Craig. "To improve a revenue cycle's collections rate and cash flow, automated tools and real time data at the point-of-service are also necessary. Intelligence in an instant is the idea of delivering the right data at the right time to the right party. In this case, patient responsibility estimates to patients and registrars prior to service can improve the overall collections experience for all parties."

Survey Highlights:

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge for your hospital or health system when it comes to collecting at the point-of-service?

  • Determining what is owed: 37.11%

  • Preparing/training staff: 35.22%

  • Lack of real-time data: 25.79%

  • Limited offering of payment types (cash, check): 1.89%

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge for patients when it comes to paying at the point-of-service?

  • Patients are unprepared to make the payment: 36.79%

  • Patients are uneducated on the option to pay at time of service: 25.47%

  • Patient can't afford to pay at the time of service: 21.38%

  • Patients are unwilling to make the payment: 16.35%

Approximately what percent of payments are collected at the point-of-service?

  • Between 0 and 15 percent: 43.57%

  • Between 15 and 30 percent: 28.53%

  • Between 30 and 45 percent: 11.29%

  • Between 45 and 60 percent: 8.15%

  • Not sure: 3.76%

  • Between 60 and 75 percent: 2.19%

  • More than 90 percent: 1.57%

  • Between 75 and 90 percent: 0.94%

Of payments that go into back-end collections, what is the approximate recover rate at your hospital?

  • Between 15 and 30 percent: 29.17%

  • Between 0 and 15 percent: 22.76%

  • Between 30 and 45 percent: 17.31%

  • Not sure: 11.22%

  • Between 45 and 60 percent: 9.29%

  • Between 60 and 75 percent: 7.05%

  • Between 75 and 90 percent: 2.24%

  • More than 90 percent: 0.96%

In your opinion, how much of your net revenue in 2010 was lost to bad debt?

  • Between 3 and 5 percent: 30.19%

  • Between 1 and 3 percent: 26.73%

  • Between 5 and 7 percent: 16.67%

  • More than 7 percent: 16.35%

  • Not sure: 6.6%

  • Less than 1 percent: 3.46%

To learn more about TransUnion Healthcare's solutions for payers and providers, visit transunion.com/healthcare.

About TransUnion Healthcare

TransUnion Healthcare, a wholly owned subsidiary of credit and information management company TransUnion, empowers providers and payers with instantaneous intelligence by providing data and analytics at the point of need. In the provider market, TransUnion offers a series of data solutions designed to move critical decision making to the front-end of the revenue cycle process. In the payer market, TransUnion offers healthcare analytics and reporting solutions to help payers meet their reporting needs, control costs and improve the overall health of their members.


About TransUnion

As a global leader in information and risk management, TransUnion creates advantages for millions of people around the world by gathering, analyzing and delivering information. For businesses, TransUnion helps improve efficiency, manage risk, reduce costs and increase revenue by delivering high quality data, and integrating advanced analytics and enhanced decision-making capabilities. For consumers, TransUnion provides the tools, resources and education to help manage their credit health and achieve their financial goals. Through these and other efforts, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies worldwide. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Chicago, TransUnion reaches businesses and consumers in 23 countries around the world. www.transunion.com/business