Collector - May 2020 - 48

LASTWORD

Using Text Messaging and
Email to Improve Health Care Collections
This interview is an excerpt from a recent episode of ACA's podcast discussing the future
of billing practices for health care providers.

T

he Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau's proposed rules for the debt
collection industry, released last
year, covered a lot of ground. On a recent
episode of ACA Cast, Irene Hoheusle, vice
president of collections and education with
Account Recovery Specialists, and Tim Haag,
president of State Collection Service, chatted
about how the proposed rules could impact
the medical debt collection market. This is an
edited excerpt from their conversation.
Haag: I'm just really excited about the
ability to text and email. Year after year,
we see more and more payments coming
through our online portal. People don't
necessarily want to talk with somebody if
they can go ahead and take care of their
balance by just using a credit card or check
online. We're seeing upward of 10% of our
total dollars from health care coming in our
online portal. And now if I was able to email
and have a link directly to that or send a
text with a link directly back to our portal, it
would just drive more and more of that.
It goes back to self-service. That's what
everybody is looking for today. You go into
even a Panera Bread today and you might
have one person at the register and they'll
have five or six or seven kiosks, and you
watch the number of people who just skip
over the counter because they don't want to
talk to somebody face-to-face. T´╗┐hey feel that

48

their order will be correct if they actually do
it themselves on a tablet or a kiosk.
Hoheusle: Yeah, it's scary how face-toface contact seems to be more and more not
the norm and everything is electronic, but
I totally get it. I have 30-year-old daughters
and they'd rather text me than call. I still
pick up the phone and force them to talk
to me though.
Haag: My nephew just turned 16
yesterday. I tried to call him to wish him
happy birthday. Nope, didn't answer. I texted
him and he actually responded.
Hoheusle: When it comes to the medical
industry, it is a little bit different. These bills are
not created out of desire, they're created out of
necessity. These are people that are probably
going to go back and revisit the same doctors
in the same hospitals. So, our clients are
worried about repeat business and how they
look in the community. All these things have
to be considered, whatever communication
that we make, to keep our clients happy, the
community happy, and make sure that the
patients are serviced correctly.
Haag: You made a point earlier about how
health care bills have always been known as
being confusing. You know, you go in for a
procedure and it's not uncommon to get five
or six different bills for that one procedure.
Now combining bills and having a single
statement has helped a lot.

If I have that ability to send an email or a
text, when I'm talking to you on the phone I
can send you that exact bill. So when you get
on the phone with me and say, "I never got that
bill," I can say, "Well, if you allow me to text or
email this to you right now, we can talk through
it while we're on the phone." Our objective, any
time we get a patient on the phone, is not to
ever have to communicate with them again. We
are trying to resolve that issue on the first call.
To listen to the complete interview, visit
www.acainternational.org/acacast.

TM

Podcast Title: Health Care Billing
Practices
Participants: Irene Hoheusle,
vice president of collections &
education with Account Recovery
Specialists; Tim Haag, president of
State Collection Service.
Air date: 2/10/2020

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.acainternational.org/acacast http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Collector - May 2020

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