Moody’s and Fitch see pressure and unstable profits for hospitals in 2019

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When it comes to net revenue, life is hard for most hospital CFOs. And 2019 doesn’t look to be much easier. While in some cases revenues may have gone up, the revenue mix is causing havoc. What used to be Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurance paying the bills has moved to higher patient self-pay in the mix, resulting in more bad debt.

Moody’s and Fitch both predict dour outlooks for hospitals in the coming year:

Moody’s:

Moody’s Investors Service has “issued a negative outlook on the nonprofit healthcare and hospital sector for 2019,” according to an article in Becker’s Hospital Review.[1] Citing things like flat or declining cash flow and expenses outplacing revenues, Moody’s also sees “Hospital bad debt growing to 8 to 9 percent next year as health plans place greater financial burden on patients. An aging population will increase hospital reliance on Medicare, which will also constrain revenue growth.”[2]

Fitch:

“Fitch Ratings expects healthcare pricing and profit margins to be under pressure next year, according to the rating agency’s 2019 Outlook Report.[3]

“’Most disruptive threats to healthcare business models boil down to an attack on pricing power, including outside industry competitive upstarts, government price setting and consumer and employer efforts to force lower pricing,’ said Megan Neuburger, managing director at Fitch.”[4]

When volumes are going up, but profitable business is going down, and you’re not collecting from the consumer, and Moody’s and Fitch predict further instability in 2019, it’s time to take action for your own hospital and change your own fortunes.

It’s time to embrace consumerism because it’s truly here and only going to grow in healthcare. And maybe it’s time to enhance your efforts with a solution that you can implement today, that will fully integrate with your revenue cycle management software and your EHR. It’s called HealthQRS.

HealthQRS’ solution allows you to provide consumers with what they want: An Amazon-like experience in healthcare. HealthQRS has developed the only complete e-commerce platform for healthcare on the market. We give consumers a site that allows them to use their smartphone, tablets or computers to shop, schedule and pay for services and medications and see actual pricing and options based on their health plans and networks. Our solution is simple to use.

As a first step in moving toward consumerism, you can offer your consumer/patients more of a retail experience in price transparency with our extremely economical price transparency tool. We invite you to watch a 2-minute video of the HealthQRS price transparency tool to see how simple this is to implement. Click on this link, then you’ll be instructed to download and watch: https://s3.amazonaws.com/hqrs.media/_misc/Screen+Recording+2018-11-29+at+17.30.45.mov

Our solution will help you comply with CMS’ Jan. 1 price transparency rule, yet we are much more than a price transparency tool. Our platform has over 30 modules that work independently or all together depending upon your needs to provide a holistic, seamless, total experience for the consumer from start to finish. We combine navigation, the capability to make an appointment, referral management (if needed), payment management and so much more than we can list here.

HealthQRS’ price transparency tool allows you to publish price as well a downloadable readable file that shows realistic pricing, not the charge master.  In addition, we can provide out-of-pocket pricing. Our solution can also capture the user’s information, such as name, email address and phone number.

We enable telehealth connectivity as well. Our technology enables people to connect to more cost-effective, consumer-oriented healthcare options and we keep them in-network. HealthQRS integrates fully to your EHR and can also enhance your existing portals and other patient engagement solutions and improve your meaningful use numbers and increase meaningful use funds. Consumers can access your retail site and shop, schedule and pay for your services via an easy-to-use app on their smartphones or tablets.

We are a software-as-a-service (SaaS), so you have no capital investment, just a low monthly fee. HealthQRS can provide this to you for as low as $500 per month and we can have you compliant by January 1, and not only that, your facilities will be much more attractive to consumers than your competition who is publishing charge master prices.

Developing a solution of this magnitude didn’t happen overnight. We started with the consumer experience in mind and spent years drawing on the knowledge of best-of-breed experts to perfect, fine tune and put together this complicated, yet complete solution for medical e-commerce.

In fact, HealthQRS has over 15 years of experience developing healthcare retail experiences for people and our founders have over 50 combined years of e-commerce experience. We also invite you to watch our user-friendly app video that you can use to win consumers as well as our point-of-service solution video that may interest you. You can also check out our E-Commerce Medical Marketplace Flyer for more information.

Contact us right now to schedule a personalized demo. We can help you be compliant by January 1. Even more, we can help you give consumers what they want. And that will keep them coming back to you.

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[1] Ayla Ellison, “Outlook is negative for nonprofit hospital sector, Moody’s says,” Becker’s Hospital Review, Dec. 5, 2018, https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/outlook-is-negative-for-nonprofit-hospital-sector-moody-s-says.html

[2] Ellison, “Outlook is negative,” Becker’s Hospital Review, Dec. 5, 2018, https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/outlook-is-negative-for-nonprofit-hospital-sector-moody-s-says.html

[3] Ayla Ellison, “Fitch: Healthcare profit margins will face pressure in 2019,” Becker’s Hospital Review, Dec. 3, 2018, https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/fitch-healthcare-profit-margins-will-face-pressure-in-2019.html

 

[4] Ellison, “Fitch,” Becker’s Hospital Review, Dec. 3, 2018, https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/fitch-healthcare-profit-margins-will-face-pressure-in-2019.html

Focus on providing your patients with the Amazon experience and change your fortunes

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Every now and then a remarkable article is published. One that “gets it,” that captures and explains current issues succinctly and perfectly. Rebecca Pifer, associate editor for HealthCareDive (with Tony Abraham contributing) did just that in her article, “Consumerism (and Amazon) loom over #USNHoT,” published November 20, 2018. Pifer’s article is spot on in identifying the key areas of focus recommended for hospitals to improve volume and revenues. We recommend that you read it in its entirety if you want to fully grasp what the patient/consumer expects from today’s healthcare experience. And interestingly, HealthQRS has the solution to every major point in the article.

Pifer jumps right into the healthcare executive’s big fear today: the fact that Amazon is at the center of healthcare disruption and its tentacles touch almost every aspect of healthcare. She quotes Aaron Martin, EVP and chief digital officer of Providence St. Joseph Health, who spoke at the U.S. News & World Report Health of Tomorrow (USNHoT) conference: “American healthcare is currently in the same spot as the publishing industry was in 1997, when Amazon disrupted the book value chain.”[1]

At the heart of healthcare’s issues is consumerism. The fact that Amazon has perfected how to exceed consumer demands is what has made the company the global giant that it is. Hospitals who adopt Amazon’s methods in reaching consumers will attract and keep them. And HealthQRS can help you do just that in a simple, timely manner.

Pifer’s shares three main points about how to win consumers, with hospital executives weighing in on each:[2]

  1. Engagement, immediacy and convenience

The healthcare industry is really no different from the airline industry, according to Manny Rodriguez, chief marketing and experience officer at provider network UCHealth. Rodriguez says the whole idea is to get from point A (your location: unhealthy) to point B (your destination: healthy) as safely and pain-free as possible. What our patients really want is this notion of immediacy – like Netflix. What people are looking for in consumerism is convenience and, though this may be unrealistic, that’s what they want.

HealthQRS takeaway:

HealthQRS’ tagline is “Where better health takes flight.” We chose this tagline because our solution is like the Expedia of healthcare. HealthQRS’ solution allows you to provide people with a true retail experience in healthcare. We give consumers a site that allows them to shop, schedule and pay for services and medications and see actual pricing and options based on their health plans and networks. Our solution will help you comply with CMS’ Jan. 1 price transparency rule, but we are much more than a price transparency tool. Our platform has over 30 modules that work independently or all together depending upon the provider’s needs to provide a holistic, seamless, total experience for the consumer from start to finish.

We combine navigation, the capability to make an appointment, referral management (if needed), payment management and so much more than we can list here. HealthQRS has developed the only complete e-commerce platform for healthcare on the market. 

  1. A focus on the consumer starts with a focus on data and IT

Larry Hollier, surgeon-in-chief, Texas Children’s Hospitals says that as healthcare attempts to become more patient-centric, it’s key that health systems meet consumers in their comfort zone: online. People like to review an interaction before they have it. Texas Children’s used to find misleading information about its practices on Google provider sites. Now, it manages roughly 750 websites, standardizing content and inserting widgets to bring customers straight into the hospital’s online scheduling process.

HealthQRS takeaway:

It’s great that Texas Children’s is bringing customers straight into its online scheduling process. But managing 750 websites? HealthQRS’ one solution would streamline this process for Texas Children’s and allow its patients to not only schedule appointments online, but to pay for them and even arrange transportation, all from the app. And if the patient is too busy or remote to get to one of their locations? We enable telehealth connectivity as well. Our technology enables people to connect to more cost-effective, consumer-oriented healthcare options and we keep them in-network. HealthQRS integrates fully to your EHR and can also enhance your existing portals and other patient engagement solutions and improve your meaningful use numbers and increase meaningful use funds. Consumers can access your retail site and shop, schedule and pay for your services via an easy-to-use app on their smartphones or tablets.

HealthQRS is the perfect vertical application for integrated delivery networks and we can set you up with a complete, online retail site right now.

  1. Branding and ongoing relationships are a must

Adventist Health System is changing its name to AdventHealth in January as it works on internally aligning its system around the patient. Marcela Reyes, director of patient experience with Adventist Health System says that Adventist is here to build relationships for a patient’s whole life cycle.

Adventist saw its patient payment volume more than double between the second quarter of 2017 and the same quarter this year by revamping its billing process to be more consumer-friendly and price transparent.

HealthQRS takeaway:

People will flock to a healthcare provider that gives them a great customer experience. Our solution helps you do that on so many levels. People want to know what healthcare is going to cost them. With our solution, you can show them their actual out-of-pocket expenses. Our system helps consumers schedule their services and pay at the time of scheduling. If they can’t pay the full amount, they can make payments, depending on the business rules that you choose. They can easily find services and procedures and they know that they will always be in-network when they shop via HealthQRS. Our point-of-service module provides interactive scripts for your registrars and schedulers to help them have fruitful financial conversations with patients. Our scripts and solution allow your staff to actually give answers to people about their out-of-pocket instead of saying: “I don’t know.” Or, “I have no way of knowing that information.”

We provide price transparency regulation compliance, and this serves as a marketing tool for your facilities. In addition, HealthQRS allows you to be compliant with the new CMS transparency rules beginning Jan. 1, 2019 and beyond that.

Developing a solution of this magnitude didn’t happen overnight. We started with the consumer experience in mind and spent years drawing on the knowledge of best-of-breed experts to perfect, fine tune and put together this complicated, yet complete solution for medical e-commerce.

We are a software-as-a-service (SaaS), so you have no capital investment, just a low monthly fee. We also have a smartphone application that consumers can use to shop, see actual costs, schedule and pay for services with a few finger taps.

HealthQRS has over 15 years of experience developing healthcare retail experiences for people and our founders have over 50 combined years of e-commerce experience. We invite you to watch our user-friendly app video that you can use to win consumers. We also have a point-of-service solution video that may interest you. You can also check out our E-Commerce Medical Marketplace Flyer for more information. Why not contact us right now to schedule a personalized demo?

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[1] Rebecca Pifer, “Consumerism (and Amazon) loom over #USNHoT,” HealthCareDive, Nov. 20, 2018, https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/consumerism-and-amazon-loom-over-usnhot/542609/

[2] Pifer, “Consumerism,” https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/consumerism-and-amazon-loom-over-usnhot/542609/

Trump administration’s short-term health plans open doors for more consumerism

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People are about to have more choices in buying health insurance than ever before. Health and Human Services has issued a final rule that extends short-term, limited duration health insurance plans to a maximum duration of one year. Adapt quickly and market yourself to consumers, to the association plans as well as the self-insured companies. This will help you compete and gain the most market share.

Providers must learn from Amazon for consumerism to take hold in healthcare

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While hospitals are planning consumerism efforts, they are losing market share to the innovators who are already providing people satisfying experiences with convenience and lower costs. Amazon is the leader in customer experience. With continued innovation and disruption, the retail giant has proven again and again that those who remain in the status quo will lose. Providers who are slow to innovate and disrupt current business models will undoubtedly lose market share and possibly go the way of previous hospitals who have been forced into bankruptcy and closure.

Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth and now Anthem pulling out of healthcare markets will drive consumerism

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With Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth and now Anthem pulling out of many insurance exchanges we could be looking at a bare market soon and the risk is growing with uncertainty about the fate of ACA. This will lead to more bad debt and self pay. With self pay comes heavy reliance on the consumer. And to keep the consumer happy, you need a great consumer experience. Think Amazon. The Amazon consumer experience is the standard for today’s shopper.

Harvard medical professor has “terrible” experience trying to find healthcare prices online

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Ateev Mehrotra, MD, an associate professor of healthcare policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School and a hospitalist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, shopped online for prices for a procedure to remove a stye from his daughter’s eye. As a physician who does research for price transparency, he thought he would have an easy time of it. In his words, it went “terribly.”