The NHS should turn to technology in order to drive positive change in the battle to recover the cost of treating overseas patients, according to a leading revenue cycle management agent to the health service.
Responding to the recent National Audit Office report that stated the NHS is likely to miss its target of recovering up to £500m a year by 2017-18, HCR Services is encouraging better use of combined technology, processes and systems to ensure the NHS can fully exercise its sovereign right around the identification and processing of its cost recovery mandates.
“Progress is definitely being made in attempts to recover more of the cost of treating overseas visitors who are not entitled to free hospital treatment but I see a definite opportunity for further improvements to be made through better use of digital tools,” says Charlotte Argyle, co-founder and managing director of HCR Services.
“The NHS is stretched and those delivering care are concerned first and foremost about delivering excellent levels of treatment. That’s how it should be. At the same time, issues such as deliberate misuse of our healthcare system are becoming more and more sophisticated, which means the need for effective tech-led revenue collection is greater than ever.”
A harmony of vanguard and G-cloud approved data entry platforms, deep NHS cost recovery legislative understanding, working knowledge of the NHS and professional back end services allows HCR to spearhead the operational delivery of NHS specific initiatives around the identification of accountable individuals and corporate third parties possessing an obligation to pay the NHS for services rendered.
With a core focus on assisting the NHS to achieve its £500m target and ambitions under the 2013 ‘Visitor and Migrant’ policy, HCR’s NHS roll-out programme allows for 180-degree ward identification of applicable patients deemed as being outside of the usual scope of free at the point of use NHS usage. A number of NHS Trusts are already utilising the solution with great success.
“A mix of NHS employee cost recovery training, an aggregated electronic platform enabling the instant and secure entry of identified individuals, patient-centric education, billing and query handling service combined with at scale domestic and international collections, real-time performance management and relationship management are needed,” comments Argyle. “Crucially, this mix enables the NHS to optimise their identification operations, and ensure full adherence to audit and Government requirements when successfully recovering funds from the estimated 2.5m overseas visitors residing in the UK at any given time.”
At present the NHS is estimated to spend between £1.8bn – £2.5bn* on the normalised treatment of those patients, with deliberate abuse estimated to cost between £110m-£180m.
“At a time when NHS resources are at a premium, it’s only right that those who need to pay are identified. Our aim at HCR is to empower the NHS to take a fully proactive and efficient handle on all opportunities afforded to them to ensure that they are rightfully reimbursed for the exceptional and valuable care provided to patients,” adds Argyle.
“By combining all the benefits of an aggregated electronic platform, specialist operational processes designed for the unique working environment of the NHS and expert skills and capability regards international collections, the NHS can remain focused on patient care and not the recovery of debt.
“HCR’s technology, people and process integrate seamlessly into current NHS working practices affording the NHS to enjoy all the benefits of an outsourced professional service model and the high-end technology infrastructure often not affordable at government level.”