Crown Commercial Service
Solving the healthcare debt recovery jigsaw
Ahead of a predicted ‘debt tsunami’ we examine the many challenges the healthcare sector will face in recovering monies owed.
Talking about debt is never an easy subject. This is especially true within healthcare and even more so during a global pandemic. Often, the debts you may be discussing are held by vulnerable individuals or businesses that are already under significant financial strain.
When this is the case, there’s a fine judgement to be made: how do you find the right balance between your fiscal responsibility to recover money that is legitimately owed and your social responsibility to protect the vulnerable and ensure the sustainability of businesses?
This is made more challenging by the fact consumers and businesses that may have entered debt over recent months have been given financial support from both government and private sector creditors to help stave off significant financial difficulties.
However, it’s clear these solutions are not a perfect solution and, in many cases, postponed the inevitable. It’s for this reason many are predicting a ‘debt tsunami’ that will peak in late 2021.
Finding the right solution
With so many things to consider, planning ahead is vital when it comes to collecting debt in a post-COVID environment. It’s never too early to consider how your organisation strikes the right balance and what that looks like in practice.
The ‘right balance’ is about ensuring that your debt strategy delivers fair outcomes. Those who can afford to repay debts do so in a sustainable manner; while those that are struggling, or vulnerable, get the right level of forbearance and support. This can include being passed onto debt charities for impartial, free debt advice.
Using data to understand your customers
To deliver the solution that’s right for you, firstly you need to understand the circumstances of the parties that owe you debt.
The Government Functional Standard on debt states “organisations should use relevant sources of data and information to make informed decisions about a debtor’s individual circumstances, taking into account an individual’s ability to pay”.
Many organisations use internal and external data to shape collection strategies. Indeed, in addition to using data from credit bureaus, some private sector firms have begun to utilise new open banking technologies, utilising real-time data to validate affordability.
While it’s clear data is a key part of the puzzle, it’s only one part.
Completing the jigsaw
While data and analytics are a great starting point, having access to the right data, and being able to understand it, isn’t simple. Only by pairing a variety of rich data sources with an expert that truly understands them can you begin to understand your customers’ circumstances and develop solutions to recover monies.
Developing this deep understanding means you can create tailored recovery solutions. For example, implementing bespoke communications strategies, based upon data, to ensure you get maximum contact and maximum return.
The final piece of the jigsaw is an experienced, proven resource, with fully trained collections agents and strong governance and regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Their agents can engage with those that owe you monies, understand their circumstances and develop specific solutions for repayment, or otherwise.
With the full range of tools at your discretion, used in the right way at the right time, you can strike the right balance and begin to recover monies owed to you from those that can afford to repay, while supporting those that need it.
To learn more about how CCS can support you with debt recovery services:
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