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Ring In the New Year with the Right Payment Processing Solution for Your Hospital

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that 2017 was a crazy year for health care. As the industry continues to transform, how is your payment processing technology evolving to compliment those changes? Looking toward the New Year, here are a few questions to ask when deciding upon the best payment processing solution for your health system, hospital or clinic.

Does it simplify and positively impact revenue cycle management (RCM)?

The right customized, streamlined payment processing solution will reduce steps in the RCM process and make it easier for patients to pay their co-pays or medical bills. Providers will spend less time collecting reimbursements and more time on their passion: helping people through practicing medicine.

Does it increase cash flow and days-cash-on-hand?

When it comes to financial stability, every detail counts. By using payment processing technology to receive reimbursements more quickly and to minimize expenses associated with the collections process, providers can easily increase cash flow and days-cash-on-hand.

Does it improve the patient experience?

Going to the hospital can be an intimidating process for many, and figuring out how to pay the bills that follow can be even more daunting. In fact, research shows providers’ scores on patient satisfaction surveys tend to drop after patients receive their bill(s). Healthcare-specific payment processing solutions that focus on the patient payment experience are key in this consumer-driven world.

Does it implement a security-first approach?

The growing number of data breaches is another trend that has disrupted the healthcare industry. Payment processing solutions that focus on security first rather than just checking off the boxes necessary for PCI compliance are better positioned to protect patients’ financial information.

Does it include an all-star support team?

Industry professionals recommend forming “symbiotic relationships” between healthcare organizations and payment processing partners. Look for a vendor that provides around-the-clock support, dedicated relationship managers and flexible contracts with regular program reviews.

Implementing a customized, streamlined payment processing solution will create a snowball effect that benefits patients, providers and frontline staff. A payment processing solution matching your organization’s unique needs and goals will lead to happier patients, greater financial stability, and more efficient and secure payments. If you’re interested in our customized, healthcare-specific payment processing solutions, please contact me at juselman@windriverfinancial.com or 1-800-704-7253 x4238.

The top 5 issues hospitals have with their payment processors (that aren’t even known by the organization)

Payment processors play a key role in a hospital’s finances, as well as the organization’s ability to meet minimum requirements and maintain PCI compliance. But as is the case in many institutions, organizational layers, antiquated processes or simply a lack of accountability can lead to issues below the surface that greatly impact efficiency and compliance.

Here we’ll examine the top 5 issues hospitals have with their payment processors…which the hospital may not even realize exist.

So without further ado, the list:

1. Cost Benefit Confusion – A cost benefit analysis is a foundational practice for any organization or business venture, and hospitals are certainly no exception. It is important that hospitals ask, “what are we paying?” and “what are we receiving for our money?” in order to determine if there is value in the investment. If the answers to these questions are not known, there is a problem. Confusion regarding statements can lead to over payments or worse – continued payment for a service that is not being utilized.
2. Delays – Response time is crucial. Clients should not settle for “pulling a service ticket” or waiting 24 hours (or longer) to receive an answer to a question. We’ve all heard the adage, “time is money.” In few places is this sentiment more true than a hospital. The more time passes, the more billable hours practitioners may accrue, which may either be passed on as costs to the patient or essentially “eaten” by the hospital. Delays can further complicate hospital billing and eventually stall a patient’s discharge or even the initiation of care in some instances. Whether it’s a matter of dollars or negative health outcomes for the patient, the bottom line is that delays are bad for business.
3. The Changing Face of Risk – In our digital world, systems and technology are rapidly evolving. Unfortunately, so too are the threats, entities and individuals who seek to breach hospital data. New vulnerabilities and areas of risk are also coming to light as technology evolves. For example, as chip card acceptance continues to grow, so too does online fraud – a threat that is significantly expanding. If defenses are not up-to-date, payment data will be at risk and extremely susceptible to new iterations of cyber-attacks in healthcare.
4. Overpaying on Card Brand Fees – No one wants to pay more than necessary. When overpayments occur in the hospital setting, they often result in large sums of money down the drain. Overpayment can be attributed to a couple of primary factors. First, utilizing the wrong technology can result in a hospital paying more in card brand fees than necessary. The other common factor is the provider failing to proactively manage payment channels.
5. Unequipped to Assess – Lacking the ability to assess the health of the merchant services program is another significant issue that hospitals can have with their payment processors. In personal health, a multitude of factors come together to determine the well-being of a patient on a given day, as well as their level of risk for the future. The same is true of merchant services’ health. Elements must be taken individually and together. Balancing cost, security, efficiency for staff and customer payment experience are a few of the factors that converge to create a healthy program.

Learn more
Be sure to check out the other installment in our series on payment processors – “4 questions every hospital should ask its payment processor.

4 questions every hospital should ask its payment processor

Payment processors play a key role in a hospital’s finances, as well as the organization’s ability to meet minimum requirements and maintain PCI compliance.

To ensure that your medical center is ticking all the correct – and critical – boxes on the PCI compliance checklist, it’s important that your payment processor is able to answer some key questions regarding processes, systems and your organization’s ability to respond to a changing digital payment environment.

So grab a pencil and schedule a meeting with your payment processor, because here are the 4 questions you should be asking:

  1. How can we mitigate our risk exposure AND ease the process of PCI compliance? It’s important to recognize that easy PCI compliance and a secure institution are not mutually exclusive ideas. Keeping threats at bay does not have to be painful or onerous. Make “work smarter, not harder” your mantra. Streamline your processes in accordance with PCI requirements to create a sustainable system. This will ensure your hospital can protect its valuable data and sail through PCI compliance requirements at the same time.
  2. How does our growth in credit card volume impact our merchant services program? Growth is generally a good thing, it’s the growing pains that are hard. Increased credit card volume can sometimes change terms, limits and other aspects of a merchant services relationship. Areas such as minimum transaction, chargeback maximum and other elements may be impacted. Knowing the answer to this question is key to understanding how to position your organization for success and ensure the continued safety of data.
  3. What payment industry changes are going to impact us? What, if anything, can we do about it? It’s doubtful that your payment processor has a crystal ball (if they do, please contact us…we have a few predictions to confirm). But what he or she does have access to is information and trends that can help adjust practices and prepare for industry changes. For example, in October 2015 the EMV liability shift took effect, transferring counterfeit fraud liability from the credit card issuers to the party that had not enabled the chip – the merchant. Then in June 2016, both Visa and American Express extended temporary modifications to the EMV liability shift. As evidenced by this example, the industry is constantly changing. It is critical that your payment processor has a pulse on the industry and is keenly aware of developments and rule changes.
  4. Beyond having transactions passed through the system, what value should we expect from our merchant services provider and how do we quantify this value? Measuring expectations is a key component of your organization’s relationship with a merchant services provider. Asking this question will allow you to determine how the provider will be evaluated and what defines value at your hospital. It’s important to not just blindly trust that your provider is delivering. Minimum transaction, chargeback maximum, availability of EMV terminals – these are all elements of the merchant services relationship with which the payment processor should be intimately familiar. If your payment processor cannot speak to these areas or provide numbers, it’s time for him or her to get on the phone with your merchant services provider.

Need help?

Wind River Financial (WRF) can help you ask these questions and assess your systems and processes for opportunities. But it doesn’t stop there – we have the experience and know-how to turn questions into answers, opportunities into action.

Contact one of our relationship managers or sales associates today to learn more and discover what the WRF advantage can mean for your hospital.

The Lowdown on PCI Compliance for Hospitals

How to Keep Your Payment and Patient Data Safe and Secure

Medical centers and medical insurance providers are top hacking targets. Why? Because they are essentially “one stop shops” for full consumer profiles, allowing hackers to access a plethora of sensitive and confidential data.

The bad news
This data includes not only credit card information, but also consumer identifiers such as date of birth, social security number, address, telephone, email and more. This treasure trove of information can allow hackers to perform very extensive identity thefts, and it often carries some of the highest prices in online hacker markets.

PCI: protecting you
Payment Card Industry (PCI) requirements exist to protect credit card data, but may also help with HIPAA compliance by protecting sensitive patient information and safeguarding personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive details if implemented for these purposes.

The good news
While medical centers may be in hackers’ crosshairs, they also offer an ideal structure for protection against hackers. Allow us to explain. The fact that hospitals tend not to integrate credit card payment data with patient services, inventory or other data means they offer an excellent environment in which to deploy point-to-point encryption (P2PE).

What is P2PE? If you guessed a droid from Star Wars, you’d be wrong. P2PE is a state-of-the-art credit card security solution. A standard established by the PCI Security Standards Council, P2PE is delivered by a third party solution provider, and is a “combination of secure devices, applications and processes that encrypt data from the point of interaction (for example, at the point of swipe or dip) until the data reaches the solution provider’s secure decryption environment.”

WRF has your back
At Wind River Financial (WRF), we know our P2PE. We have successfully partnered with several health care organizations in strategically deploying P2PE solutions. We’ve worked with these clients to understand and strategize payment industry compliance and risk to ensure that credit card data is protected from hackers. But don’t take our word for it, check out some of our testimonials to hear from the clients themselves.

Interested in learning more? Contact us to discuss your organization’s needs and find out how WRF can help you choose a P2PE solution that will keep your patient and payment information safe and secure.