The Role of the Financial Counselor in Healthcare

Outlining responsibilities and capturing payment upfront is an essential ingredient to ensure a healthy revenue cycle, particularly as healthcare organizations target a V shaped recovery.

Patients are often powerless and price blind when it comes to understanding complicated bills with confusing codes post service.  With looming discussions regarding the future of price transparency and enabling patient to ‘shop’ for care in a consumer driven market, organizations are beginning to rethink their approach to financial dialogue with patients.

Patient access staff who are typically responsible for this role are often also responsible for additional revenue cycle functions such as registration and scheduling.  In these scenarios it is difficult to ensure front-line staff are adequately trained to have sensitive conversations that require a high degree of empathy and emotional intelligence.

Undoubtedly, the Financial Counselor role has become increasingly necessary as soaring treatment costs and growing complexity of regulation and insurance criteria can leave patients overwhelmed when it comes to understanding their options and the best strategy to take.

As a result, RelateCare now offer Financial Counseling solutions to healthcare organizations. The service comes by way of reviewing the current state financial counseling process and identifying opportunities for improvement.  In some instance this results in an outsourced arrangement whereby RelateCare are responsible for recruiting, onboarding, training and managing teams of counselors. Our teams listen to patients regarding issues concerning their medical bills and payment options, liaise between patients and their insurance companies on behalf of their healthcare provider, coordinate payments, and handle all financial obligations so that patients and providers can focus as much as possible on what matters: health and wellbeing of the patient.

Providing this kind of assistance from the start of the patient journey can allow the patient and provider to avoid some of the pitfalls on the way to meeting financial obligations, which is better for all parties concerned.

The responsibilities of a Financial Counselor include:

  • Communicating with patients and insurance companies on the phone.
  • Documenting and reporting all payment information
  • Offering education and training to patients about their payment options and financial assistance opportunities
  • Negotiating about patient payment arrangements
  • Reviewing and processing all patient and insurance company forms.

RelateCare’s Financial Counselors use a variety of resources to manage the payment cycle to ensure they have the right information regarding eligibility and other pre-existing and potential funding sources. With the right information, RelateCare Financial Counselors can identify opportunities to improve patients’ financial outlook and ultimately collect more payments.

More hospitals are recognizing the significant role that financial counselors can play in patient access systems. For RelateCare, this role compliments our already robust set of patient access services.

As with many of RelateCare’s services, there is a strong emphasis on communication skills. Not only are our financial counselors knowledgeable about healthcare billing processes, but they are also excellent listeners who engage with patients in a genuine and empathetic way. Many patients facing into these struggles simply want to feel like they have a voice, they want to be heard. Our Financial Counselors provide this service, a mix of communication and expertise, in order to find the best solution for patient and provider.