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.

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