On this episode of The Modern Practice Podcast, host Gary Tiratsuyan welcomes CEO of Healthcare Finance Direct, Tyler Johnson, and Executive Vice President of Marketing at Rectangle Health, Michelle Dowling back to the show.
As the conversation continues, Tyler gives insight into the macro-economic landscape and how it is impacting the cost for care. Michelle then shares why not only financing, but a robust offering of payment options can accelerate growth for the practice, but more importantly, allow patients to receive the care they need.
Gary Tiratsuyan 00:22
Without further ado, hello everybody, and welcome back to the Modern Practice Podcast. I’m really excited to welcome Tyler Johnson, CEO of Healthcare Finance Direct, and Michelle Dowling, EVP of marketing at Rectangle Health. Back today’s show for part three of our increasing Case Acceptance mini series. Tyler, Michelle, thank you for joining me.
Michelle Dowling 00:42
Thank you, Gary. Great to be here.
Tyler Johnson 00:44
Thanks Gary. Yeah, I appreciate you having us.
Gary Tiratsuyan 00:47
Of course, a lot has happened in this growing partnership between Healthcare Finance Direct and Rectangle Health, but Tyler, nothing more exciting than your recent news on behalf of the entire Rectangle Health organization. Congratulations to you and your family for welcoming in your baby girl.
Tyler Johnson 01:04
Thanks Gary, I really appreciate it a lot.
Adoption of Patient Financing
Gary Tiratsuyan 01:21
I hope you can get some after this exciting new episode we’re about to get into today. And before we get started, I want to let our listeners know you can access parts one and two of this miniseries with Tyler and Michelle by following the links in the episode description below. So Tyler, I’ll turn to you. In June of 2022, it was announced that Healthcare Finance Direct and Rectangle Health had partnered to deliver a patient financing program unlike any other in the market. Can you give me a sort of State of the Union, if you will, as far as what you’re hearing and seeing when it comes to adoption of this program?
Tyler Johnson 02:00
Yeah, absolutely. So I’d say so far so good. First, I just want to give a shout out to just both the Rectangle Health and HFD teams that put this all together. So, I mean, there was a lot of work a lot of people don’t see just going on the back end of optimizing that customer experience. Everything around just provider setup and making it easy to enroll, making it easy experience as far as just marketing all the information that the customer needs up front and proper disclosures and just all of that, the technical integration. Both tech teams did a phenomenal job and so we definitely wouldn’t be where we’re at today and have an appealing product offering if not for all of these people that made it easy to use for the patients and providers. So that’s number one overall.
As far as the customer perspective we’re seeing so far, good demand. We’ve been really disciplined in our rollout this program, wanting to optimize again, making sure there wasn’t anything we missed when we launched. And so we’ve been building up our marketing efforts and expanding to the broader networks of both companies. And again, so far so good. The adoption we’re seeing with people that have opted into care now, pay later has been phenomenal and we expect to just continue to scale that across the whole network.
Gary Tiratsuyan 03:13
Yeah. Thanks so much, Tyler. And I think it’s fair to say that the healthcare industry as a whole, based on that adoption, is really seeing the value in a program like this versus others in the market. And that’s really because it’s geared towards benefiting both patients and practices on a higher level. And that being said, Michelle, any successful software tech company listens to their clients, listens to the market, and adapts and enhances solutions. From the rectangle health side, how has this patient financing solution evolved based on the feedback from early and later adopters?
Michelle Dowling 03:51
Sure. I think to answer the first part of your note, there is when we can identify those needs and then find a great partner like HFD, things really start to move quickly and we create these solutions based on that demand and there is significant demand for patient financing. And predominantly, we’ve definitely seen the interest in the adoption of the solution. However, we’ve seen that there’s a lot of work to be done to educate patients and providers on where financing fits into the conversation about how to pay for care. And since financing fits in where either there are no options for those uninsured or where insurance leaves off, this is a new conversation and there’s still some reluctance around how that’s delivered. And I mean, you can think about the last time you were probably at the doctor’s office or dentist’s office.
Were you offered a financing option at that point of care? Did you see it through any type of portal? And for most people, the answer is no. So it really is on the staff or provider to make sure that they know, the patients know that’s an option. And I think that’s what we’ve seen in this late and early adoption stages, there’s still so much more work to do to make sure that is out there. It’s consumable. And for patients, it’s all about options and more options on how to afford care.
The Affect of the Economy on Adoption
Gary Tiratsuyan 05:21
Thank you, Michelle. And Tyler, I want to come back to you and sort of piggybacking off of Michelle’s insights here. It seems like the New Year bell rang. We welcomed in 2023 and this offering, we saw spike in the number of practices offering and patients taking this option on to pay for the treatment that they need. And more patients are financing care through this program than ever and more practices are offering it, as the episode title says, to increase case acceptance while there is work to do. But this financing solutions enhancements. Can we get into the weeds a little bit about what role the economy is playing in the adoption rate and what are the other contributing factors here?
Tyler Johnson 06:13
Yeah, absolutely. On a macroeconomic level, personal savings are at a ten year low since back in the Great Recession, which is drastically different than where it was just a couple of years ago, where personal savings were higher than 40 years over the past 40 years due to a lot of the stimulus and less spending due to the lockdowns and things like that. And so the balance sheet of the consumer has been deteriorating as they’ve been paying for things with higher priced goods due to inflation. And so the customers need access to credit for things where they weren’t expecting, having to spend a few thousand dollars out of pocket, which happens oftentimes specifically in healthcare, it’s something that it’s hard to save for.
And so giving people reasonable access to credit with a program that isn’t punitive like a credit card, where you’re paying compounding interest a lot of different fees, something that’s easy and fits within your budget. It’s just something that’s very appealing to anybody across the credit spectrum, whether it’s a prime customer who could take advantage of no interest offerings to be able to pay over time as well as somebody with just a zero or thin file no file FICO score, which is very rare to see a company approved. So overall though, I think what’s leading to the adoption from providers is just the fact that we do what we say we’re going to do. From a marketing standpoint, it’s one thing to market 100% approval or to market something, and then finance companies are notoriously.
People view finance companies sometimes as a bait and switch in their offerings. They offer something that they only give to 1% of the population. Everybody else gets stuck holding the bag, we don’t do that. And so we’re able to actually honor what we deliver. And so I think there is a psychological barrier that when people see we’re actually approving everybody, I think that’s when it gives us and the program overall, the credibility to say, wow, this is really working. So I don’t need to continue going to just care, credit or just these other options where I know I’m only going to get partial approvals or somebody needs $4,000, but I’m only going to get $800, things like that.
And so it’s a one stop shop, everybody’s approved for the amount that they need, and I think once the treatment coordinators and providers catch on to that, then it’s easy for them to move on from the older ways of doing things. We’re just starting to see that. And then obviously there’s just a compounding effect of as we can show that and have case studies and examples of all these providers who were before getting 50% approvals, now getting 99.9% approvals, it’s definitely something that other people want to be a part of.
Patient Financing & Revenue Cycle Management
Gary Tiratsuyan 08:54
Great insight there, Tyler. Michelle, I want to shift gears here a bit. You and I have spoken about this offline. We just had Matthew Moribel from our team on talking about a term that’s buzzing in the healthcare industry and that’s revenue cycle management. Can you give us a look into how seamlessly financing bolts on to a practice organization’s RCM strategy and positions them for growth?
Michelle Dowling 09:25
Sure, of course. I think first and foremost, we want to make sure that the patients get to the appointments because when they don’t, it seriously challenges the revenue cycle. And we’re still seeing staffing shortages, the need for automation, and an increasingly high rate of uncompensated care. So when we bolt on financing, providers do see how quickly they can recover payment and revenue. It reduces the time and cost of billing and collections. They can avoid managing accounts receivable, mailing statements, negotiating billing disputes. But most importantly, why we’re talking today is it can increase their case acceptance. Patients are less likely to delay or defer treatment if they can make the payment, if they can financially resolve it. So I think that because of the rising deductibles, the continued rise of deductibles, increased patient responsibility.
One thing we keep hearing is that the patient is the new payer. That’s a lot of pressure. And when organizations face this new patient as a payer reality, the old revenue cycle was designed around payer reimbursement, not patient payments. And collecting from patients was somewhat of an afterthought. Statements would go out weeks and months after service provided. But now that patients own more of their own healthcare costs, that reactive practice just doesn’t work anymore. It’s inefficient, it’s ineffective. So we need now is a new way of looking at the revenue cycle model, and that includes patient financing because it offers options and it makes it easier for them to accept care. So this is where patient financing is a tremendous opportunity. And, you know, technology is so interesting because it’s not limited to any particular stage or space.
It makes these traditional functions and processes obsolete. So we’re here to help providers ensure they have the most up to date solutions so that their revenue cycle continues to be healthy and strong. And if we can help change that perception that what was working continues to work, that’s where some of these financing options really can help ensure that we’re offering patients all the options they can do in their everyday lives at the care provider.
Details of Rectangle’s Patient Financing Program
Gary Tiratsuyan 11:47
Tyler, last question here, based on what we just heard from Michelle, growth in revenue comes from treating more patients, increasing case acceptance, and reducing those declination rates, all while providing an exceptional care experience. Can you talk to me a little bit about the experience? You touched on it before, the fine details of who gets approved, when and for how much?
Tyler Johnson 12:11
Yeah, absolutely. And I kind of want to piggyback a little bit off the revenue cycle management question you asked Michelle. I really think sometimes healthcare is the last to adopt a lot of the consumer trends. And so the consumerization of healthcare is here, and it’s here to stay. And so really empowering these consumers and giving them best practice solutions to be able to pay is absolutely critical. And to Michelle’s point, a lot of these organizations have built a lot of their revenue and their forecast based off of just the money that they’re going to get from insurance. And they have very low collection rates on the patient responsibility, many of them writing it off as charity care.
And a lot of it’s due to just older technology as well of just compliance concerns around how much does the patient really owe and when, and having real time insurance adjudication processes. So you know that this is what the payer is going to pay, but this is what the patient is going to ultimately owe. And if you don’t have the technology in place and the point of sale system in place to be able to understand this is what we can reasonably and confidently say the patient owes and then get them on a payment plan or something that fits in their budget before they leave the office.
Well then it ends up like many other healthcare bills where six months or a year from now you get some letter for $200 in the mail and you just assume that something was wrong and you don’t know if you owe it or not. And you thought it was covered, but it wasn’t. It’s just a terrible experience and for everybody, for the patient. But the provider also is out that money that they actually need to make the math work on the procedure. So it’s something that’s critical to getting a customer set up to be able to pay. And just piggybacking off of what you mentioned earlier when I had my first daughter just paying for my patient responsibility of what I owed for all of that.
I literally had the doctor’s office saying they were going to call me on the 23rd of every month for twelve straight months and ask me for my credit card to be able to pay my portion every month. And again, just extremely clunky workflows and not having good workflows is what leads to just worse payment performance, but also it’s just hard to capture that revenue and just a worse overall experience. So a lot of the tools we’re providing on the finance side and other tools that Rectangle has in its tool belt can really make it’s kind of ironic to say, but you could actually get more money out of the patient, and they’re happy to pay it if you give them a good workflow and a good experience. Upfront. So that part is critical.
And then speaking on the finance side, going back to our offering is we approve everybody. So ask who gets denied. There is some, I’ll be completely frank, there is some technicality in that if somebody is on the OFAC watch list, for example, where the United States government deems you can’t do any business with that person at all. From a compliance standpoint, we have to honor that. But that’s like one person a year type thing. So it’s 99.9%, we got to say, to make sure the compliance people are happy. But essentially everybody gets approved. And I think the biggest thing though, is they get approved for up to $5,000. So most other finance companies might approve somebody. And many treatment coordinators out there listening know about the partial approvals of somebody’s asking for $3,000 and they get $800 or $1,000.
And a lot of the reason why they do that is because those finance companies want to be able to go back to the CFO or CEO of that company and say, hey, see, I approved a 600 FICO score, a 580 FICO score, just like I said I would. Except it’s not real. Like, it doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t meet the ask of the patient. It doesn’t drive any case acceptance. It just makes their approval rate look slightly better so they can justify their value to the finance team at that company, but the treatment coordinator is left hanging and the patient has no service. So again, our company and our partnership with Rectangle is built on the customer in mind first. The customer being not just the patient, but the actual provider and the frontline staff working with that.
And if we can optimize that piece, making it easy to use, approving as many people as we can for what they’re asking for, then everything else takes care of the rest on the back end.
Gary Tiratsuyan 16:24
Amazing. Tyler, thank you so much and just going back real quick to what you said about that Clunky experience and getting that phone call once a month to take on a credit card, you just think about the time and multiplying you and how many others front office staff are taking time to do that for. Ultimately, it’s contributing to this burnout that we’re seeing in the healthcare industry and just reinforces the fact that automation is key in getting these types of processes into smoother workflows for the front and back office. Again, thank you so much. And for our listeners tuning in today, I invite you all to connect with Tyler and Michelle on LinkedIn.
They’re wealth of knowledge and I’ll have the links to their profiles in the description below, as well as a link to learn more about Rectangle Health’s patient financing solution and how easily you can implement it at your practice to increase case acceptance in the description below. Tyler, Michelle, thank you again for taking the time to speak with me today. I’m looking forward to chatting again real soon.
Tyler Johnson 17:39
Awesome. Thank you, Gary. Thanks Michelle.
Michelle Dowling 17:41
Thank you both. Have a great day.
Gary Tiratsuyan 17:43
My pleasure. And thank you again to our listeners. Have a great day. Till next time, everybody.
Thank you for listening to the Modern Practice podcast. If you enjoyed today’s conversation, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify or SoundCloud for new episodes and follow Rectangle Health on social media for more helpful information, news and event details. Thanks for tuning in.