SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Hackensack Meridian Health, an integrated network of healthcare providers serving patients in New Jersey, and St. Vincent, part of Ascension – the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system, serving patients in central and southern Indiana, are winners of the 2017 ClearBalance® ROI Value Model™ Performance Award.
The award recognizes health systems with top-performing annual metrics to address patient pay. The award is based on the HFMA Peer Reviewed ClearBalance ROI Value Model, which provides nationally recognized patient loan program performance standards. The ClearBalance consumer-friendly loan program is a zero-interest revolving line of credit patients use to pay their portion of medical costs. They can add balances for future services and consolidate medical bills for their spouse and dependents.
Hackensack Meridian Health began offering the ClearBalance program through eight of its 13 hospitals in 2016. In one year, the organization has reduced bad debt from patient pay by more than $1 million, while achieving return on investment (ROI) of 380 percent. Using the ClearBalance program, Hackensack Meridian Health helped patients cover almost $3.5 million in medical costs last year. “We’ve seen patients’ out-of-pocket expense rise from an average $2,000 to upwards of $6,000 in the past few years,” says Timothy Mattson, Director of Patient Financial Services. “This affected our bad debt and put a strain on our ability to collect. We tried to combat it with our own program but found a better solution with ClearBalance.”
St. Vincent began offering the ClearBalance program in 2004. Now, after more than a decade of steady use, the program still chalks up impactful results. In 2016, St. Vincent reduced bad debt from patient pay more than $7 million, reduced days in AR by 3.08 days and achieved ROI of 435.5 percent. “The ROI Value Model and our results provide credible metrics that serve as best practice for other health systems,” says Dawn Davidson, VP of National Net Revenue Management for Ascension.
Paying for healthcare often is an unexpected expense and many consumers lack the ability to cover out-of-pocket medical costs. According to a Commonwealth Fund study, 40 percent of adults with deductibles equal to 5 percent or more of their income said they would not seek care due to cost.
The ClearBalance program empowers health systems’ financial services teams to have meaningful conversation with consumers, describing options to help patients resolve their cost of care. “Our customer service team members were more comfortable talking about what insurance would cover rather than what the patient owed,” says Marilyn Koczan, Senior Vice President of Revenue Cycle Operations for Hackensack Meridian Health. “Having the ClearBalance program has helped the staff tremendously. We know they’re doing their job as we envisioned. They have a sense of professionalism and comfort level to offer the patient an option for their balance.”
“Demand for extended payment plans continues to rise,” says Bruce Haupt, president and CEO of ClearBalance. “By offering the ClearBalance program, Hackensack Meridian Health and St. Vincent are being proactive in making care affordable for all members of their communities.”
Four other healthcare organizations were recognized for their achievements in 2016. St. Joseph Regional Medical Center and 2016 ROI Value Model Award winner Essentia Health are runners-up in the “Newcomer” category. The runners-up in the “Veteran” category are PinnacleHealth System and Novant Health.
ClearBalance developed the ROI Value Model based on its 25 years of best practice experience serving large, complex health systems as well as stand-alone community hospitals. Earlier this year, the model achieved HFMA Peer Review status for the third consecutive year.