Payment processing is a headache for all online businesses, but healthcare merchant account holders are facing serious challenges when it comes to processing payment for patients.
Apart from having to put up with poor connectivity, contracts and hardware, among other setbacks, below are three obstacles health providers face during payment processing.
- Protecting Patient Payment Data
At the top of this short list come data security concerns regarding HIPAA compliance. All healthcare merchants should familiarize with the strategies and requirements to prevent disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI). However not all payment processing partners stay up to date with the latest safety measures.
To avoid the grievous penalties caused by healthcare data breaches that could also tarnish your reputation with patients, it is vital to validate that all vendors proving processing infrastructure are both HIPAA and PCI compliant.
- Difficulty in tracking and tagging data back to the EHR/PM Software
To process patient payments, health providers use the EHR/PM software that converts the clinical records of treatment to a list of charges for the services offered to the patient.
While most of these EHR/PM software can of calculate what the patient owes the care provider, most can’t process the actual payment; this means health care providers have to use a separate solution.
Therefore, after collecting and processing a patient’s payment, the health care provider must update the balance in their EHR/PM account. Failure to track and tag each patient transaction, the provider, may end up posting every transaction back to the patient account.
- Patients Pay via different methods and at Different Times
Unlike in the case of most direct dealings, wherepatients’ payment must not necessarily be made during the service. This becomes even worse when in a thorny insurance reimbursement setting; it could take you a month or even longer to collect payment from a patient in one way or another.
To twist the knife, just recently there was an increase in high-deductible health plans. And to health providers, this means they have to wait as their patients await their statements of charges- which may go for weeks, while the vendor also waits for the insurance company to sort out its negotiated fee for the services offered to the patient. Sounds complicated, right?
As a strategy to overcome the challenge, many health providers offer financing options, billing plans, early payment discounts and credit card on file (CCOF). To have these features work smoothly, they must be integrated with the processing solution. Also, you need to ensure transaction data are tracked and updated. Managing these components during patient access can be tricky if each is done separately.
What’s more, vendors often pay chargebacks or make payment adjustment when patients file disputes, or due to standard documentation errors. In case a patient pays with a personal Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account (or HSA/FSA) card, a repayment must be issued in the form of credit to their account and not in cash.
Proceed prudently when running your Healthcare merchant account to stay safe from avoidable losses in your business. If you are starting off, you may want to check outeMerchantBroker, their account opening process is relatively easy and quick.