$10,000 Challenge Illustrates Need for Change


Better patient billing will lead to better debt recovery, Challenge creator says.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

If a physicians' group, hospital or revenue cycle management company can prove that its paper-based billing method is faster and less expensive than a paperless alternative, Tom Furr has a $10,000 check with their name on it. That's the premise behind the "$10,000 Healthcare Billing Challenge" being held by PatientPay, of which Furr is CEO.

The contest is being held to highlight PatientPay Paperless, touted as a quicker and cheaper method of patient billing. The product offering comes as health systems are looking to make their billing not only more efficient but simpler, as confusion can impact providers' ability to collect from patients.

Therefore better patient billing, they believe, will lead to better debt recovery.

PatientPay's contest is built around the idea that billing is simpler if paper is removed from the process entirely.

"Since 98 percent of healthcare providers send out paper bills, the aim of 'The $10,000 Healthcare Billing Challenge' is to help those professionals realize that maintaining the status quo is costing them money and delaying cash flow," said Furr. "Further, patients have made it clear in numerous market studies that they'd prefer to get their bills electronically, and providers should heed their call."

To win the $10,000, an entrant needs to use PatientPay Paperless for 60 days, after which time per-statement cost and average payment cycle achieved will be compared against submitted, verified evidence of paper billing performance to revenue cycle management firms providing billing services to those types of organizations -- are eligible.

Other products and services have attempted to tackle the complexities of better patient billing. Doxo, a company that provides an online filing cabinet for patients to group their billing information, launched its program a couple of years ago, aiming to dramatically ease the burden of patients confronted with complex medical bills, payments and explanations of benefits. As of 2014, several hospitals in the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council had tried out Doxo's service

As early as 2000, the Healthcare Financial Management Association's Patient Friendly Billing project started providing the nation's hospitals and health systems with information, educational programming and practical tools to aid efforts in streamlining financial communications and optimizing billing and payment functions.

Statistics from PatientPay claim its paperless program can save a provider up to $4 per statement, and that those utilizing the service receive payments in less than 14 days on average. With paper bills, the typical payment cycle is about 120 days.

Providers can enter the "$10,000 Healthcare Billing Challenge" from now until midnight, Eastern Time, on March 31.