U.S. Bank Improves Providers’ Ability to Get Paid

What's Next In Payments®
10:05 AM EDT March 8th, 2011

U.S. Bank’s healthcare payments division today introduced two enhanced offerings—Payment Navigator™ and Payment Consolidator™—that help healthcare providers improve revenue cycles and streamline complex payment processes, at a time when providers face unprecedented challenges getting paid for their services.

With consumer driven health plans on the rise and 30 million more people preparing to join the ranks of insured Americans in the wake of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, consumers will continue to shoulder greater responsibility for healthcare costs. This is dramatically growing providers’ patient receivable volumes and increasing bad debt. It’s also exposing a largely paper-based billing system that is costly to manage: Of the $200 billion billed to Americans annually for healthcare expenses, it’s estimated only 20 percent is remitted via electronic payment, according to a 2010 report by the Mercator Advisory Group. This paper-based payment system creates confusion for patients who receive multiple explanations of benefit statements and invoices and are unsure about what to pay. In return, providers are faced with the financial strain of growing patient account receivables.

In response, U.S. Bank is offering healthcare providers ways to improve up-front collection of patient payments and automate tedious paper-based payment processes.

“Unlike most industries where payment is expected at the point of sale, the healthcare payment system was built around hospitals and providers working through complex, manual processes to get paid for their services by insurance companies,” said Ralph Bernstein, senior vice president of U.S. Bank Corporate Payment Systems’ Healthcare Payment Solutions division. “The system wasn’t designed for consumers to easily understand their financial obligations or for providers to easily collect payment from them. With consumers now bearing more direct and immediate financial responsibility, providers need solutions that help them answer patient billing questions and make payment collection processes easy for patients, leaving them more time to focus on what’s important—providing quality care.”

Payment Navigator, formerly Healthcare Payment Management (HPM), integrates out-of-pocket payment estimation, eligibility and collection of patient payments at the point of service, via credit card, debit card, healthcare spending card, electronic check or cash, as well as alternative payment options. All patient payments are recorded in a single interface to help patients immediately access and understand the cost of service, along with the payment structure.

The enhanced product offering also now includes a Patient Payment Portal with eStatements that enables patients to view and pay their statements online. The HFMA Peer Reviewed offering also allows providers to collect payment via any Web-enabled computer in their facility at the time of service, providing rapid funding and billing that accelerates cash flow and eases reconciliation. Through Payment Navigator, payment settlement occurs in 24 hours, so providers receive their payments faster than the industry average three-day card settlement timeframe.

“Like most health systems today, we are seeking optimal ways to streamline paper-based payment processes, effectively manage growing self-pay collections, and strengthen financial performance,” said Jerome Houizot, treasury manager, Allina Hospitals & Clinics. “With Payment Navigator, we’ve noticeably improved our patient payment processing workflow, decreased our bank fees and improved reconciliation. And we are able to offer patients better service with more payment options, including the ability to pay bills online. In fact, e-transactions now represent 12 percent of our overall billed patient payments.”

Payment Consolidator, formerly Healthcare Receivables Service (HRS), boosts accounts receivable efficiency, improves cash flow, and minimizes business operational costs. It works with a provider’s existing systems to seamlessly automate traditional manual payment processes between providers, and commercial and government payers. Payment Consolidator significantly increases the percentage of payments and remittance advices received and processed electronically.

It does so by providing electronic data interchange (EDI) connections to thousands of healthcare payers and communicating with U.S. Bank’s clearinghouse and trading partners. Payment Consolidator also automatically reconciles remittance advices to the original claim and payment, providing a searchable online archive for providers to research patients’ billing questions.

In just three years, U.S. Bank Payment Consolidator has been embraced by top providers. Thirteen additional hospitals and health systems are already slated to launch the solution in 2011, bringing new efficiencies to their accounts receivable process.

To learn more about U.S. Bank Payment Navigator and U.S. Bank Payment Consolidator, please go to: www.healthcare.usbank.com/products-and-solutions/provider-solutions.

About U.S. Bank Corporate Payment Systems, Healthcare Payment Solutions Division

Healthcare Payment Solutions helps patients pay and providers collect. An outgrowth of U.S. Bank’s long-standing commitment to the healthcare community, the Healthcare Payment Solutions division delivers innovations that simplify the receipt and processing of payments, provides new and better ways for patients to meet their financial obligations, and supports the relationship among the participants in the healthcare continuum. For more information about Healthcare Payment Solutions, please visit www.healthcare.usbank.com.

About U.S. Bancorp

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), with $308 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2010, is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States. The company operates 3,069 banking offices in 25 states and 5,310 ATMs and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at www.usbank.com.

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