The Green Sheet Online Edition
July 11, 2011 • Issue 11:07:01
Less churn, more earn in health care
The average medical practice generates about 23 percent of its total revenue from patient payments, with the balance paid through insurance providers, according to TransEngen Inc., whose online transaction technology is used by over 10,000 health care providers in hospitals and medical practices in the United States. TransEngen's payment platform was designed to improve cash flow and reduce bad debt for medical practices, which is estimated to be between 1 and 10 percent of receivables.
To help health care practitioners gain better control of payments and eligibility, TransEngen recently launched the Merchant Healthcare Multiplier Program. At the core of this ISO-driven program is a web-based payment suite called Revenue Maximizer, which shifts collections in real time from the medical back-office to the point of care.
"The idea behind it is to attack the area of what we call patient payment," said Michael Pileggi, Executive Vice President of TransEngen. "Today when you walk into a practice, they collect a co-payment, and then they send you on your way and they send you a bill. We eliminate that. We can actually go into their insurance, calculate what they're going to owe based on the service, and collect their bill upfront." And it accepts all forms of payment, he added.
Scalable for any size practice
The product can be scaled for smaller practices with less than $1 million in annual revenue. "On the payments side, you can actually take our solution, just have the payments-only piece and sell it," Pileggi said. As a payments-only engine, the eligibility segment is not included but can be added at any time. According to TransEngen, its platform allows ISOs to expand services to practices where existing POS terminals capture only about 25 percent of patient payment volume.
TransEngen's payment platform integrates with most existing practice management systems. "We're compatible with any system that's HL7 or XML-based, which essentially is 99.9 percent of them," Pileggi said. Another important consideration when selling in the health care market is whether products meet compliance requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. TransEngen reported that Revenue Maximizer satisfies those requirements.
Features include a Patient Responsibility Calculator, which verifies eligibility, calculates what a patient owes and processes payments at the point of care. Online reporting generates daily reports on transaction activities. Card on File securely stores patient bank account or credit card information for future visits. If unable to pay the amount due at the time of the medical visit, patients can set up automated scheduled payments through the Patient Payment Portal or via traditional channels.
Why less churn?
Merchant churn is a constant concern for many ISOs. "The average account life on the normal processing side is 11 months, and with us it's at least three years," Pileggi said. "They're not going to care about half a percentage point less rate when they're collecting money they weren't collecting before. That's why all these guys are attracted to it, because they know this is a great opportunity to get into the space and not lose customers.
"From a program standpoint, they keep all the processing. They're increasing their account value because today when they go sell a terminal they don't have any of these features or products. They don't have any way to help collect more money than they normally would. Our product does that."
Pileggi added that Revenue Maximizer is offered as a software-as-a-service product and can be integrated quickly. "They could be processing payments as quickly as tomorrow," he said.
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