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The Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM) promotes best practices, standards and subject matter expertise to their members to influence and promote high quality delivery of Patient Access Services and POS collections.  In early January 2015,

In early January 2015, NAHAM released 22 standard patient access key performance indicators (KPIs) called the NAHAM AccessKeys®.  The AccessKeys are available to NAHAM members and provide a better way to track and measure the performance of patient access.  AccessKeys were created for six key areas: Collections, Conversions, Patient Experience, Process Failure and Resolution, Productivity and Quality.  Prior to the establishment of the NAHAM’s recognized standards, it was difficult to produce an accurate comparative benchmark because patient access departments lacked a level of standardization in terms of definitions and measurements in use at their facility.  The

The NAHAM AccessKeys definitions of what is or isn’t included in certain processes will further assist patient access departments in determining how well various functions are being performed in comparison to other hospitals.

For the past three years, AccuReg has conducted an annual benchmark survey for patient access.  The 2014 Registration Benchmark Survey was just released and it covers patient access topics such as current practices and trends in pre-registration, point-of-service (POS) collections, scheduling, patient portals and registration accuracy.  Based on the survey results, more facilities are pre-registering their patients.  The survey found that 38 percent were now meeting the industry standard goal for hospitals of pre-registering 90 percent or more of scheduled patients.  This was a 15 percent increase from the 2013 results.  The survey results also found that the majority of hospitals pre-register their patients on average three days before the service.

According to AccuReg, two of the most significant differences between the 2013 and 2014 answers are the following:

  • The number of respondents screening and obtaining authorizations rose from 51 percent in 2013 to 65 percent in 2014.
  • The number of respondents that estimate the patient liability and screen for financial assistance increased 12 percent.  In 2013 only 47 percent estimated liability and 2014 showed 59 percent now do that during pre-registration.

With almost half of the respondents now screening for financial assistance in pre-registration, the survey results show that hospitals have geared up to deal with specific aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) regarding high-end deductibles and potential enrollment of patients in Medicaid or another insurance products.

POS collections have now become universally in place at all hospitals; however, most are still struggling with how best to determine the amount to collect.  A variety of tools are in place from third-party vendors insurance verification products to financial estimates of patient’s liability.  By providing the patient with an estimate of what their likely liability is, the patient is more vested in the process and is better informed prior to the service.  As a result of the improvements in pre-registration, verification and POS estimates hospitals have significantly improved their POS collections in the past two years to 40 percent of total collections occurring at POS collections.

With the adoption of NAHAM AccessKeys performance indications, hospitals will have a better means to realign their POS departments and standardize processes.  As a result, performance can only continue to increase.

Article authored by MiraMed, a BPO Outsourcing Services Company

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Phil C. Solomon is the publisher of Revenue Cycle News, a healthcare business information blog. He serves as the Vice President of Global Services for MiraMed, a worldwide healthcare BPO company. MiraMed provides solutions to leading hospitals, health systems, large physician groups and industry partners providing services in the areas of revenue cycle optimization, medical coding, clinical improvement documentation and technology integrations. Phil has 25 years of experience as an industry thought leader, strategist, solution provider, author and featured speaker. He has worked closely with some of the industry’s best and brightest leaders in healthcare finance and revenue cycle operations.

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