Healthcare debt is a huge vertical with much opportunity. However, an agency can only find success by effectively expressing to all involved stakeholders, be they clients, employees, regulators or consumers, that it cares. This issue Collection Advisor talks to Richard Bennett, president of PlusFour, Inc. to discover his Success Strategies for ensuring this care is known. These strategies involve differentiating your agency from others, letting your employees know they are valuable to the team and maintaining the certifications necessary, such as HITRUST CSF, to collect healthcare debt.
Richard, how did you get involved in collections?
After deciding to open a business I researched different industries and was already familiar with others. I concluded that I wanted a service related company and decided on the collection industry. It was my perception that in a good economy consumers’ ability to pay their debt is increased and in a worse economy there would be an abundance of bad debt to service.
How does an agency best represent itself to potential clients?
An agency can best represent itself to potential clients by being truthful and realistic about expectations. The agency should accentuate what it excels at and the areas that make it stand out from competition. Potential clients are not interested in the same product presented in a different package. They are looking for real change with noticeable and measurable improvements in technology, transparency, compliance and performance.
What do you do to keep your collectors motivated and happy?
We create an environment where all collectors feel and understand that we know they are an important asset and their personal investment of their time and dedication is acknowledged and rewarded. We make them feel valued. They are highly trained and are treated as professionals in their field and are paid more in guarantee than in incentives. They also work as a team and are compensated as a team. They feel a responsibility to make the team successful, so each carries their weight and supports and helps each other thereby providing superior results for clients.
How do you keep good working relationships with clients?
Maintaining good working relationships with clients comes from tedious and meticulous attention to detail. They need to feel that they are our most important client regardless of how small or large they are. We go beyond the norm in providing statistical information and reports to enable them to evaluate their bad debt and our performance. We provide several communication channels for them, provide them with a dedicated point of contact, and are always available to handle their needs quickly and professionally. We also present them many options on account placement making it as easy and efficient for them as possible.
How does PlusFour manage its technology (keep updated, manage data security, keep everything functioning properly)?
We hire the best technology professionals available to maintain our technology with exhausting policies and procedures written for every job, every function, and every event. We have duplicity in our training and redundancy is our systems with a high level of sophistication in our operations. We use third-party software to maintain and monitor our policies and procedures as well as our training and education programs. Our systems are remotely monitored 24/7 with full reporting monthly on all systems including issues, updates, and patches. We are HITRUST CSF Certified. HITRUST CSF has become the information protection framework for the healthcare industry and brings a new level of effectiveness and efficiency to thirdparty assurance. The HITRUST CSF Certification is now the benchmark that organizations required to safeguard PHI are measured against with regards to information protection.
Why do you think some healthcare collection agencies fail?
I believe they fail because they do not anticipate the future or their clients’ needs. They remain the same as the world around them changes.
What is the most important lesson you have learned collecting healthcare debt?
That it happens to almost everyone at some time and to always treat those that are in collections with professionalism and respect.
How is PlusFour involved in the community?
Recently I was elected to the board of the Nevada Chapter of HFMA, Healthcare Financial Management Association. Volunteering to help with the services provided by this organization to benefit the healthcare providers in my state. I am also actively involved in my local church.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Family occupies most of my free time. Married for 41 years, we have four married children and nine grandchildren. I am also an avid golfer and love to travel.