[Case Study] UCLA Health

How UCLA increased efficiencies and improved patient experiences

UCLA Health is home to world-renowned physicians and leading medical facilities.

Increased efficiencies and improved patient experiences have helped UCLA Health maintain its status as one of the premier providers of modern medicine to the Los Angeles area and the world.

UCLA Health sees more than 3,000 international patients every year. But when it came time for those patients to pay, the process could be cumbersome and frustrating for both patients and billing department staff.

UCLA Health needed a comprehensive solution that could handle the complexities of international payments including:

Processing international credit cards required UCLA staff to contact foreign banks to verify limits and often delayed payments and medical procedures.

Patients called from China, several time zones away, during the night, outside of UCLA Health office hours, to resolve payment issues. Such calls led to delays of two to three hours—a significant amount of time when it comes to healthcare.

Manual payments taken over the phone by credit card were written down and shared with the processing department where the payments were keyed in. The result: issues in safeguarding sensitive information, unsecured workflow of information, extra time for staff, and the possibility of introducing error.

Lack of infrastructure to track incoming payments caused logistical problems when unexpected international receivables hit the bank account. Staff had difficulty identifying the sender of the wire transfer. Moreover, wire receipts in different languages required valuable time spent on translation.

Patients were inconvenienced by having to pay a single medical invoice with multiple credit cards because of card credit limits.

Issuing refunds was nearly impossible.

After rigorous evaluation, UCLA Health chose to partner with Flywire to improve its international patient experience to increase internal efficiencies and reduce collection costs. The solution needed to work across various internal departments such as International Patient Services, Purchasing and Finance, IT, and Compliance. They appreciated that the solution was at no cost to them or their patients. An added benefit was that Flywire could seamlessly link with UCLA Health’s CRM, enabling fast, efficient payment tracking.
Flywire significantly simplifies the process for patients. It’s one less person they have to talk to, and their customer service is impeccable.

Solution and results

UCLA Health partnered with Flywire to implement a new strategy to handle the challenges posed by international patient payments. When Flywire reached out to offer their no-cost solution, they were rigorously evaluated for HIPAA and health system financial compliance.

To further streamline the internal process, simplify accounting, and mitigate entry errors, UCLA made use of Flywire’s intelligent link to automatically transfer a generic invoice identifier and dollar amount into the patient’s payment experience. By pulling a generic invoice identifier number, a uniform and compliant process is maintained.

Since partnering with Flywire, UCLA Health’s Finance Department has saved a significant amount of time on international payments. Before Flywire, UCLA Health had to obtain all pertinent patient payment information (such as bank account and credit card information) to issue a refund. Now the refunds are sent back through Flywire’s payment rails, and UCLA Health no longer spends any time issuing refunds. Refunds, which used to take over a month to be issued, now take only a matter of days.

3,000international patients annually
186self-pay patients served
46different countries represented as patients
35currencies handled
$50 to $1.7Mrange of single payments processed
$20,000average transaction size
77%reduction in time to process refunds
$1,941.23average refund amount
0outstanding refund payments pending

With Flywire, UCLA Health now has full visibility into their international payments, allowing them to make decisions more quickly, such as clearing a patient for surgery because their payment has been posted. Rather than the old process of getting a wire receipt—assuming the funds are coming, and then clearing a patient for health care services based upon an assumption—UCLA Health now has insight into when funds have hit Flywire’s account.

The implementation of Flywire has helped UCLA Health run more efficiently, provided insight into payments, and given international patients a more seamless experience. Both Flywire and UCLA Health are excited to see the continued success and impact of their partnership.

UCLA is not having to turn down patients that ask if different f”orms of payment are available to them. That is a significant benefit to international patients.

Get the full case study