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Tips for Improving Copay Collection

three women meeting around a desk

Financial counselors Jennifer Peraza and Nenci Montero, both members of SEIU-UHW, work with fellow UBT members at the West Los Angeles Medical Center admitting department to make sure patients get the help they need paying bills. 

Putting employees, patients at ease while keeping affordability in mind

Keeping the affordability point on the Value Compass in mind, unit-based teams are taking a hard look at the obstacles to collecting copayments and conducting small tests of change around proposed improvements. New practices like these are generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue.

  1. Educate employees about the importance of copay collection.
  2. Train employees in how to ask for payment. Use role playing to help them become more comfortable with asking for payments, and create and distribute talking points or scripts.
  3. Provide visual reminders for members to check in at the front desk, so a receptionist can determine if a copayment is due.
  4. Post a sign with a telephone number directing patients with questions about co-payments and financial concerns to a financial counselor.
  5. Call patients a week in advance of a scheduled procedure to advise them a copay will be due and, if possible, to collect it before they are admitted.
  6. Add the copayment amount to patient’s outstanding balance and ask for the total amount. If balance is $100 or more, ask for payment on the account.
  7. Refer patients who can’t afford to pay to facility-based financial counselors.
  8. Station a full-time financial counselor in the Emergency Department.
  9. Make sure financial aid applications are processed promptly by having co-workers share the load. Report workload status at weekly huddles.
  10. Create a uniform note-taking system for financial forms and assign a counselor to every patient referred to financial services.


Affordability/Money - Color Download the Tip Sheet

Want a colorful tip sheet with these ideas to hand out and post on bulletin boards? Download one here!

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