Have you ever wondered how a human-centric ambulance billing process works? Let’s find out! In this blog series, EMERGICON will walk you through the daily personalized service offered by our 100% Texan team members and show how our Texan Touch® approach is unique. This week let’s learn about the Patient Accounts team.
The Patient Accounts Department is responsible for any contact with EMS patients. We spoke to Patient Accounts Manager Sandra Short, Patient Accounts Team Lead Danelle Stanton, and Patient Accounts Specialist Tammy Devine to better understand the department’s responsibilities.
According to the Patient Accounts Manager, Sandra Short, the department often acts as the final step of the claim cycle. “After the patient care report (or ticket) is Pre-Billed, it goes through the Billing process. Any issues with the ticket are handled by Accounts Receivable and payments received end up posted by Cash Applications. After that, if the ticket gets to us, it’s either because it’s a private pay patient or it has changed in the system from ‘insurance’s responsibility’ to ‘patient’s responsibility.’ In both cases, we try to contact the patient to discuss the balance remaining on the account,” states Short.
The Patient Accounts team performs a variety of tasks every day. “We handle all the patient’s correspondence and calls. We answer questions, manage complaints, conduct negotiations, etc. Also, we try to help patients with financial assistance, if possible. For example, we set up payment plans or offer discounts – if the EMS provider offers that possibility,” informs the Patient Accounts Specialist Tammy Devine.
The Team Lead, Danelle Stanton, explains that the Patient Accounts team can be interjected at any stage of the process due to the nature of their job. “Occasionally, we have insurance companies, attorneys’ offices, or patients calling to say, ‘An EMS agency transported me, and I haven’t received a bill yet. I want to give you my insurance information.’ In those scenarios, we insert ourselves in the middle of the process and assist Pre-Billing with that data,” shares Stanton.
The Texan Touch®
The Patient Accounts team reveals the personalized approach that distinguishes EMERGICON by displaying their efforts to go above and beyond. That’s what we call the team’s Texan Touch®. “We are Texans offering a service to Texans. When patients call and hear our accent, they know they’re speaking with someone with the same background. A time when this shared experience was crucial was the freeze of 2021. We all could relate to each other’s struggles. The fact that we live the same experiences allows us to deliver more sympathy, compassion, and understanding in our customer service,” states Devine.
EMERGICON’s Core Values inspire the team members to go the extra mile. “Patient education is a big deal for us. We explain how insurance works, what deductibles are, and what their benefits mean. Sometimes the patient’s not familiar with the insurance policies. That’s why we embody the “Deliver Legendary Customer Service” Core Value and help them understand the insurance process and the ambulance bill thoroughly. In the patient’s mind, we are an extension of the EMS agency that saved their lives. So we need to maintain those standards and positive experience,” says Stanton.
“In the payment industry nowadays, when you call to pay bills or to ask questions, you’re usually answered by a robot recording or automation. Our department is different from that. Each call is answered by a person. If everyone is busy, the patient gets a voicemail and a call back from a real person. That’s important because people are often upset; an automated response will only lead to more frustration. When there is a real person on the other end of the line, you can offer better customer service, and by the end of it, they’re better educated. They understand the process and know what’s going on,” defends Short.
Sense of Purpose
When asked why their jobs make a difference, the Patient Accounts Team Lead reinforced that they do their best to respect the patients’ financial condition while allowing client agencies to stay active. “I truly believe it helps the patient’s life. When they speak to us and understand what that bill, which came from an emergency, means, it relieves some stress. Everyone is struggling with bills, and whenever I can help a patient with payment plans or something, it makes my day,” expressed Stanton.
Regarding the explanation for loving their jobs, the Patient Accounts team members list the unexpected experiences, accomplishments, and coworkers as the main reasons. “There is always something new in this department. We start the day thinking we know what to expect, then cross some unique wild cards. The truth is you never know how a call or email will go. Different patients, different situations. It keeps it interesting,” tells Short. “Getting our numbers and seeing we’ve met our goals is exciting. We’re close; we cheer and help each other. I love working with my team at EMERGICON,” completed Devine.
If you are interested in this career path, we have great news! EMERGICON is always accepting job applications. Check the current positions available on our Careers page or send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.