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The Impact of COVID-19 on Medical Billing and Collections

COVID-19 has had an immeasurable affect on nearly every aspect of our economy. However, the strain on the healthcare industry is possibly the most extensive. Every day, our hospitals, clinics, and private practices are overwhelmed by COVID-related issues. Some of these are directly related to COVID, such as testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19 positive patients. Other effects are more indirect, but no less impactful. Medical providers are dealing with the cost of prevention, moving services online, and reduced patient load. All these challenges trickle all the way through the system and until they reach the billing departments. Here are some of the issues they are facing with billing and debt recovery.

New Coding and Accuracy Demands

COVID-19 is a disease that didn’t exist a year ago. Therefore, medical professionals are using new codes to accurately chart and bill for its diagnosis and treatment. The CDC released new International Classification of Diseases, or ICD-10, released new codes early last year for diagnosis and exposure to the disease. Additionally, many healthcare systems and providers are including surcharges for PPE due to increased costs. 

This creates a challenge for billing departments. With the pandemic situation constantly evolving, billing offices must keep up with the changes with little increase in resources. Errors can cost providers more money when claims are denied and must be corrected. Additionally, many patients don’t expect surcharges charges for PPE and certain other COVID related charges. This leads to an increase in patient disputes and late or nonpayment.

Decreased Patient Load

As the pandemic continues to spread like wildfire in our communities, demand for COVID-related services has increased. However, demand for other healthcare services has decreased. Many patients who are understandably worried about exposure are staying away from their doctors’ offices. For example, many patients are delaying routine check-ups and other procedures that are not immediately necessary. These more profit-rich services are often a major source of funding that offsets the slimmer profit margins of acute services. This lack of revenue can make it difficult for healthcare systems to keep up with the high costs of caring for the sick.

Patient Hardship Leads to Nonpayment

There is no denying the economic impact of our current health crisis. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent data suggests that only about half of those jobs have been recovered. Women have been disproportionately affected as schools remained shut down. This has put millions of patients in a very precarious position. Since healthcare remains inexorably tied to employment in our country, most of these same folks who have lost jobs have also lost healthcare. This makes it difficult or impossible to pay healthcare bills while continuing to keep the rent paid and lights on. When medical bills are considered unnecessary compared to other needs, they unfortunately go unpaid.

How Southwest Recovery Can Help

Southwest Recovery Services is an experienced financial services company with a proven history of results. Our agents are experienced with the unique needs of medical collections and revenue cycle management. Additionally, we approach RCM and debt collection with the same level of care and concern that patients would receive from your providers. Our efficient, friendly method of billing and collection will represent your organization in a way that you can be proud of. We offer:

  • Revenue Cycle Management
  • Early Out Debt Settlement Program
  • Debt negotiation, mediation, and arbitration
  • Credit Reporting
  • Judgment Collection and post-judgment Discovery

Let us help you ease the burden of collecting past due payments in the COVID-19 economy. Give us a call today!

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