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Healthcare Payments: The Challenge with Multiple Payment Providers

Over the years, Wind River has partnered with a variety of healthcare networks, hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices and labs in order to improve their payment optimization. But that experience in the healthcare space has brought with it a unique set of challenges. One in particular that we see quite often involves healthcare providers being tied up with multiple payment providers.

It’s understandable how this type of situation can arise. Over time, new processes and services require specific approaches. Mergers and acquisitions create scenarios where multiple systems need to be integrated. And sometimes it’s just easier to bring a new party into the fold that offers a specialized payment service.

Unfortunately, no matter how the situation came to be, the challenge of working with multiple payment providers (especially in healthcare) can have profound effects on day-to-day operations and ultimately cause more headaches than it’s worth.

We’ll lay out several of the most common difficulties we’ve seen healthcare providers experience due to this type of multi-party relationship.

  1. Who’s Responsible? – Multiple payment providers create a situation with no clear work flow. Many of our clients in this situation have wasted hours trying to answer simple questions. To make it worse, registering your question or submitting a trouble ticket to get an answer just increases delay time. It’s just salt in the wound if the response comes back that you’ve contacted the wrong provider.
  2. Higher Fees – Some industries and merchants can benefit from having multiple payment providers, but that’s not the case when optimizing payments in healthcare. Transaction volume is one of the key drivers that sets pricing. Because of this, multiple partners can result in significantly higher fees, and many healthcare providers find themselves overpaying.
  3. Compliance Issues and Security Vulnerabilities – One of Wind River’s key philosophies is Security First. Even though compliance can be a lengthy, challenging process, we ensure that compliance and data security are of the utmost importance to us and our clients. Brining multiple payment providers into the mix can create situations where PCI compliance is duplicated…or worse. In some situations, we’ve found examples of one environment not being completed, leaving a hole in security and increasing costs and time commitment. In comparison, a single security team that knows and understands the entire environment can reduce the number of vendors being worked with, saving time for IT departments and the overall spend on data security.
  4. Inefficient Reporting – Meeting the needs of accounting staff is extremely important as most departments are thinly staffed. Multiple payment vendors typically mean multiple processes and systems. These departments then need various work arounds to keep everything in alignment. When it comes down to it, efficient reporting can save these departments significant time and money, and that’s a significant benefit to streamlining the amount of payment partners.

If you find yourself in a situation where your payment processes are tied up across multiple partners, it can be a difficult scenario to unravel and streamline. Fortunately, it’s not an impossible task. If you have questions about how you can better optimize your payment services, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d be happy to help.

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