Debunking 8 Myths About Patient Financing

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Debunking 5 myths about patient financing

Patients are leaving a huge hole in providers’ bottom lines: They now are the third-largest responsible payor after Medicare and Medicaid but 68% with medical bills of $500 or less did not pay off the full balance during 2020, up from 49% in 2020, and headed to 95% by 2020, according to a June 2020 TransUnion analysis.

What’s surprising is the limited response of providers to this unsustainable situation. Some have taken initial steps: requesting payment upfront, improving billing statements, helping patients enroll in Medicaid and insurance plans. But that’s not enough to reverse this alarming non-payment trend.

Like many consumer companies from Home Depot to Toyota, the answer for providers seems clear: Offer no- or low-interest installment payment programs so patients can get needed care and pay in affordable amounts over time.

Not only would this increase volume and total collections but it builds patient satisfaction, goodwill and loyalty. So why has healthcare been slow to adopt patient financing? Below are five myths that may be holding you back.

Myth: We’ve never had patient financing so we wouldn’t need it now.
The healthcare revenue cycle has changed dramatically, requiring new approaches. Out-of-pocket costs for patients have skyrocketed, with 51% of covered workers in 2020 having an annual deductible of $1,000 or more for single coverage, up from 34% in 2020, according to the Kaiser/HRET Survey.

Now more than half of American adults say they’d have trouble paying a medical bill of more than $500, according to the 2020 HealthFirst Financial Patient Survey.

The math is pretty clear: While millions of people are obliged to pay more of their medical care, they don’t have the money. For healthcare providers this means:
1. Write off more bad debt and cut spending, or
2. Implement solutions, like patient financing, that make care affordable for patients while helping ensure providers get paid for their services.

Myth: No- or low-interest financing doesn’t improve our financial performance.
Actually, providers significantly improve their financial performance with some types of patient financing. A national health system, for example, saw bad debt diminish by 10% and self-pay A/R decrease by 20% after implementing their patient financing program.

What’s more, some patient financing firms immediately fund the patient balances, minus the service fee, improving cash flow and reducing A/R days. A multi-specialty medical group with more than 140 physicians received $245,000 upfront after going live with their patient financing program, and that figure nearly doubled to $450,000 after its second year.

Myth: Implementation and administration will be a nightmare.
It doesn’t have to be. Implementation complexity and times vary widely. Some programs are complete hand-offs to a third party with no impact on your IT systems and your staff simply gives out information. Then it’s up to the patients to apply online for loans that require strong credit scores.

Other financing programs that accept all patients referred by providers can be up and running in 30 days or so. The program should also make staff’s lives easier and involve a straightforward, step-by-step implementation process. This includes a checklist that covers how accounts will be transferred over, funding setup, and any technical requirements.

In addition, patient financing leaders manage the administration and customer service, allowing your revenue cycle team to handle other priorities, and some offer real-time performance reports and access to recorded calls with patients.

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Myth: C-level executives aren’t interested in patient financing.
Top leadership often isn’t aware of the extent to which patient financing can enhance the organization’s standing with patients and in their communities while helping improve their bottom line. Revenue cycle executives find that also emphasizing the impact on patient satisfaction is extremely persuasive to senior management. Patients satisfied with their medical billing experience are five times more likely to recommend a hospital and two times more likely to recommend a physician than those who were not, according to predictive analytics firm Connance.

Myth: We lose control if we bring in third parties.
That depends on the service provider chosen. Some financing firms work with each provider to establish and implement specific terms and policies for the organization’s payment programs rather than have them choose from a limited portfolio of payment plans. How the payment plan is administered and how the financing firm handles customer service also can make a big difference in satisfaction for patients and revenue cycle employees as well as total collections.

Providers and their patients can no longer afford to let myths about patient financing hold them back. The old ways of managing the revenue cycle need to give way to new approaches that fit the reality of who’s paying. Healthcare providers that want to thrive in this new economy will need to use a multitude of options, including patient financing, to stay competitive and financially viable so they can fulfill their mission to serve their communities.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker’s Hospital Review/Becker’s Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

Debunking 9 Common Myths About Orthodontic Treatment

Over the past 30 years we have helped thousands of patients achieve beautiful, beautiful smiles. We have found that some of our patients were given inaccurate information related to orthodontics. Often times, these myths are born from a simple misunderstanding of a process or a procedure. Our team considers it an honor to educate our patients about these topics so today we will dispel a few common myths about orthodontic treatment.

1. “Braces are the only treatment option.” and “I was told I’m not a candidate for Invisalign.”

Innovations and advancements in technology have given rise to a wide variety of treatment options for straightening teeth. Alternatives to braces include clear aligners like Invisalign® and headgear alternatives such as the Carriere and Herbst appliances. We are a Top 1% “Diamond” Invisalign Provider and our doctors have the experience, skill set, and knowledge required to treat a wide variety of malocclusions without using braces. We believe that every patient is an Invisalign candidate!

2. “If it doesn’t hurt it’s not working.”

It’s possible that the old adage of “no pain, no gain” has fueled this myth. Back in the early days of orthodontics wires were thicker and less flexible. This combination led to increased pressure on teeth and thus increased pain. The invention of flexible nickel titanium wires provided a way for orthodontists to move teeth a more constant, lower force and this resulted in less pain. Invisalign aligners apply the gentlest tooth forces at only 0.25 mm movement per aligner, making Invisalign treatment virtually painless. Therefore, the presence or absence of discomfort does not correlate with treatment progress in modern orthodontics.

3. “You will notice a big change immediately.”

Moving teeth is a slow process that occurs over a series of months. As teeth move their surrounding bone, blood vessels, nerves, and ligaments must remodel around them. When too much force is applied the resulting outcome is possible tissue necrosis and shortened roots. Your orthodontist will closely monitor the speed of your tooth movement throughout treatment to ensure that your teeth are moved in the safest, yet most efficient way possible.

4. “Your teeth will stay straight without retainers.”

We wish this was, true but unfortunately it’s just a myth. Teeth are in their most stable positions before orthodontic treatment begins. Without retainers, the pressures of your lips and tongue must be perfectly balanced in order for no shifting to occur. Additionally, the ligaments that surround your teeth will tend to move teeth back to their original positions over time. We see many adults who had orthodontic treatment as a child/teen but their teeth are no longer straight because they stopped wearing their retainers. Our doctors want your new smile to last a lifetime, so we strongly recommend the placement of fixed retainers when possible. If you do not want fixed retainers or are not a candidate for them, you will need to wear clear retainers at nighttime for a lifetime to ensure that your teeth will not shift.

5. “My treatment time will not change.”

Correcting malocclusions and moving teeth into proper alignment takes time. Depending upon the initial position of your teeth and bite, orthodontic treatment times vary but the end result is definitely worth your time investment! At the beginning of your treatment, your orthodontist will provide an estimated treatment time, but your final date may vary from this depending on the severity of the case, timing of tooth eruption, and patient compliance. Your cooperation plays a big role in treatment time, especially when wearing Invisalign aligners and/or elastics. Patients who demonstrate great compliance usually finish early or on time. In contrast, anticipated treatment time is usually extended in patients who are not compliant.

If oral hygiene is not maintained at an acceptable level throughout treatment damage to your teeth can occur in the form of “permanent white scars” and/or cavities. If your orthodontist feels that more harm than good is occurring due to poor oral hygiene, your treatment will end earlier than anticipated in order to protect the health of your teeth and gums.

6. “Is a dentist an orthodontist?

Orthodontists complete an additional 2-3 years of education and training in order to become experts in facial growth, dental development, and malocclusion correction. Trust your smile with a specialist!

7. “Are all orthodontists the same?”

Experience, additional training, treatment plans, treatment methodology, and personality can vary greatly between orthodontists. Because of this, it is important to do your research and find an orthodontist that best matches you and your specific treatment goals.

8. “I’m too old for braces.”

Some may feel that orthodontic treatment is just for kids and teens, but that is simply not true! In reality, as long as your teeth and supporting structures are healthy, age is not a factor. Many adults opt for clear aligners (like Invisalign) or clear braces since esthetics is a larger concern among adults. Our oldest patient just turned 80 years old!

9. “My treatment outcome is not dependent upon me.”

You play an integral role in your treatment outcome and treatment time. The final result is largely dependent upon your cooperation throughout treatment. Multiple missed appointments, broken appliances, lost aligners, low compliance, and poor oral hygiene greatly impact your final result. You and your orthodontists will work together as a team throughout your treatment to achieve the best possible treatment outcome. We care about your smile and want the very best for you!

At Kentucky Orthodontics, we provide industry-leading orthodontic care to the residents of Kentucky. Our team has the skills, knowledge, and experience to ensure the best treatment experience possible for you and your family. When you are ready to take the next step toward your new, confident smile please complete the form below. We offer complimentary consultations and 3D smile simulation scans. We look forward to helping transform your smile!

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.

Debunking LASIK Myths

Posted on November 20, 2020 in LASIK

As one of San Diego’s leading providers of LASIK, we have advised thousands of patients, listened to their concerns and answered many questions about laser vision correction. Many myths about LASIK are debunked and common questions are answered by simply learning more about how the LASIK procedure works. Get the facts about LASIK, including answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

What if I blink during LASIK?
We prepare the eye for the procedure with numbing eyedrops, which promotes patient comfort and reduces the urge to blink. Once the eye is numb, the surgeon will use an ophthalmic speculum to gently hold the eyelids open to prevent blinking. Although the total time in surgery is approximately 10 minutes, the actual laser treatment only lasts a matter of seconds!

What if I move my eyes or head during LASIK?
At Gordon Schanzlin New Vision Institute, we utilize some of the most advanced, FDA approved laser technology available to improve the safety and efficacy of your LASIK procedure. Our WaveLight EX500 excimer laser utilizes PerfectPulse ® , which is an advanced eye tracking technology that automatically tracks the tiniest, fastest movements of the eye with a latency time of only 2 milliseconds! 1 If you move your eye outside of the treatment range, the laser treatment would cease, and then your surgeon would reposition your head and redirect your focus before resuming the treatment.

Could I go blind from LASIK?
There are always risks that should be carefully considered before any procedure, but LASIK surgery has been performed for more than 25 years and is considered one of the most successful elective procedures in medicine! LASIK has a patient satisfaction rate of 96%, which is the highest of any elective procedure. 2 In a clinical study featured in the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, more than 90% of patients achieve 20/20 vision after LASIK, and 99% achieve 20/40 vision or better, which is the legal vision you must have to drive without correction. 3

Many patients still fear that they could be in the rare minority of patients that have serious complications from LASIK. The highest probability of serious vision loss or blindness after LASIK is actually associated with a bacterial infection called microbial keratitis – but this is extremely rare (occurring in 0.0046% of LASIK patients 4 ), especially if you take all of your prescribed postoperative eye drops as instructed by your surgeon. Studies have actually shown that if you wear contact lenses for 10 years, you’re six times more likely to develop a sight-threatening infection than if you’d had laser eye surgery 5 . Another research study found LASIK reduced the levels of self-reported rates of eye infections, ulcers, and abrasions. 6

LASIK is too expensive!
LASIK may require budgeting for some patients, but when considering the cost of other vision correction options such as contact lenses, it may be more economical in the long term! The cost of doctor visits, contacts, glasses, and solution over 10 years may end up costing more than LASIK, which may reduce or eliminate some of those expenses.*

Average Vision Correction Costs:

    Disposable Contact Lenses: $220-$260 annually 7
    Contact Lens Solution: $150-200 annually
    Backup Glasses: $275 after insurance 8

At Gordon Schanzlin New Vision Institute, we offer affordable LASIK financing to help patients fit LASIK into their budget.** Qualified patients can opt for no-interest 6 or 12 month plans or extended payment plans to spread the cost of LASIK out monthly for up to 48 months. Just think, choosing to cut a cup of coffee out of your daily spending or cutting out other expenses can all contribute to your LASIK fund!

Is LASIK painful?
Prior to the LASIK procedure, our team will use anesthetic eyedrops to numb the eyes and we offer our patients an oral sedative to calm nerves before the procedure. It is normal to feel some pressure when the flap is being created, but otherwise the patient should not experience any significant pain or discomfort.* It is normal to experience some irritation or minor discomfort as the eye heals for the first couple days after LASIK, but this can typically be alleviated with the use of artificial tears and over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

LASIK recovery takes a long time
LASIK actually has a very quick recovery time – many patients are able to return to work the day after their procedure. Most patients notice improved vision within the first 24 hours after surgery, which should continue to improve in the days following the procedure.*

Following surgery, you will need to take regular post-operative drops to facilitate healing, and you must not wear makeup for the first few days following LASIK. You will also want to want to minimize strenuous activity for 1-2 weeks following surgery, and you cannot go into hot tubs or any open bodies of water such as the ocean, lakes or rivers for 2 weeks.

Schedule Your LASIK Consultation
It is completely normal to want to understand the benefits and risks of a medical procedure and we encourage anyone considering LASIK to contact us with any questions. During a consultation one of our experienced surgeons will examine your eyes to determine eligibility and discuss the details procedure. We are passionate about vision correction and eye health, and we are proud to be a leading LASIK provider in San Diego. Contact us to schedule your appointment!

*Individual results may vary
**Financing available for qualified patients. Patients must qualify via an approved independent medical lender. Loan offers are given by independent lenders based on approved credit and not everyone will qualify.

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