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Collection Software Eases the Burden of Medical Debt Compliance

  • Written by Joshua Fluegel

Medical debt always finds consumers in a vulnerable state. This is the reason government agencies like the CFPB regulate it so heavily. First and third party collectors alike have been exploring options to ease the increasing burden. Medical collection software has proved itself to be a worthy companion to help mitigate the demands of complete compliance.

“Patients may be extremely sensitive with regard to how they should be treated with reference to a medical debt,” said Debbie Collins, COO at Quantrax. “Contact frequency, whether it be letters or phone calls, must be handled with care. The same is true about calling them within the allowed calling periods and not calling them during ‘inconvenient times.’ Medical information is very sensitive. Information must be secure, and access restricted to only the information required to do one’s job. Even in cases where access is allowed, the software should tell you who accessed information, and what was changed or viewed. In most cases, the system must allow longer payment arrangements than with other types of debt.”

While medical collection software should help prevent a collection professional from unnecessarily upsetting a consumer, it should also guide a collector through the collection process to make sure none of the compliance-related activities go awry.

“Healthcare collection software should provide workflow controls within the account recovery process that enforce compliance with specific regulatory requirements like 501(r) extraordinary collection action (ECA) wait periods, required statement language, and financial assistance communication,” said Michael A. Mullins, senior director, enterprise sales – revenue cycle at Ontario Systems.

In addition to compliance today’s medical software may also be able to help a collection agency accommodate a client’s needs. This capability can range from screen appearance to selected recorded messages.

“Technology tools in the area of compliance include flexible screen configuration and adaptable design fields to meet even the most demanding or constantly changing client needs,” said Lex Patterson, president of DAKCS. “Hospitals and clients’ needs are ideally reached when their patients feel comfortable and pleased. With available solutions such as PCI compliant IVR payment solutions, secure cloud client access and various consumer communication channels, an agency can stay ahead and continue to build those vital relationships necessary for their clients, patients and communities.

“Compliance management solutions also are key to minimizing the risk of non-compliance. Good solutions will be cost effective and include easily accessible document management containing operating procedures, training tools and test transcripts, as well as complaint tracking and call recording.

“By utilizing the flexibility of compliant workflows and secure automated procedures within the medical collection software, an agency is positioned to minimize the risk of non-compliance with fewer steps and less impact to revenue producing processes.”

There are hundreds of settings, parameters and options that must be set in a particular way to achieve compliance. Even then, the human element must be maintained to assure nothing falls through the cracks. Chris J. Roberts, president and COO at Sentinel Development Solutions believes the key elements a fitting medical collection solution should offer to help an agency remain compliant should include:

“Have a ‘Do Not Call’ feature that can be configured to conform to all regulatory requirements, and contain warnings and guidelines for non-compliant action,” said Roberts.

Piece by piece, medical collection software chips away at the mountain that is compliance making a return on investment increasingly likely.