In the healthcare industry, communicating effectively with patients, getting them to understand treatment details, maintaining follow-up schedules and remembering appointment times is challenging enough under normal circumstances. If those patients cannot afford internet service or cell phones, the care management becomes even more challenging. For some patients, regular monthly phone bill may equal the cost of what they have budgeted for two weeks of food so even if they know they have a health condition requiring ongoing management, they may find themselves unable to afford both expenses.
As the healthcare industry is beginning to embrace the consumerization of communication, text reminders, emails, and digital calendar invites are ineffective if the patient can’t consistently afford to keep his/her phone or internet service active. However, thanks to Lifeline, a federal program providing affordable communication services (cell phone and service), low-income patients will be better-equipped to communicate with their healthcare providers.
By combining solutions that support omni-channel communication with patients with the Federal Lifeline program, hospitals and health systems are alleviating the financial burden of connectivity, while meeting the patient’s demand for alternative communication options. This program is intended to enable eligible individuals to stay connected to family members, schools, child and elder care providers, employers and importantly, their healthcare providers. Unfortunately, many (who qualify) are unaware this assistance program exists.
As a healthcare provider, your patients who participate in Medicaid, also qualify for Lifeline assistance. But, Lifeline eligibility extends beyond Medicaid to those patients who are currently receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Section 8, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps), several Tribal assistance programs or other supplemental programs that vary by state. Lifeline is supported by all mobile providers (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, etc.) and the patient has the same access and coverage as their current paid wireless solution.
Maintaining contact with patients is essential for improving adherence to treatment plans while optimizing RAF (Risk Adjustment Factor) scores, proving HCAHPS (the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems), supporting population health and providing an optimal patient experience. Providers who serve a low-income patient population will be able to deliver consistent care and support backed by real-time EHR/CRM data flows, proactive engagement through voice, email, web chat, SMS and mobile, deliver payment reminders to keep patients on track, and offer hyperlinks to secure portals or disposable apps. The program costs the patients nothing, AND providers receive annuities for each new patient signed up. It’s a win all around. Does your health system, hospital or clinic serve a low-income patient population? Are you trying to tackle the patient engagement conundrum?
If you’re attending NGPX 2017 in San Diego, Nov 28 – 30th, please stop by our booth #207 or attend the panel I’ll be speaking on regarding the Patient’s Journey. You may also learn more about Aspect’s Medicaid Patient Engagement solution, which provides qualifying individuals with a free cell phone and service: https://www.aspect.com/industries/healthcare-providers.
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