Payment separation is a key part of proper patient co-management. Fundamentally, ophthalmologists should not be paying referring providers – even if collecting their fee and remitting a payment to them is being done for the convenience of everyone involved.

Patients should be aware of which providers are receiving payments, and patients should pay each party for their respective services. Take the example of a co-managed premium IOL procedure. Patients should pay the ophthalmologist for their preoperative and operative work, the ambulatory surgery center for the lens and any other fees, and the co-managing OD for the postoperative work.

But how is this achieved in practice? Prior to CoFi, it hasn’t been easy. When it comes time for patients to pay for their elective procedures, the premium experience practices work so hard to create for the patient often falls apart. Consider the following scenarios:

The patient pays each provider separately. The patient pays the surgeon for his or her premium fee and they pay the ASC for the lens. When they go back for the second eye, they pay the surgeon and the ASC, and then they get to the optometrist for the postoperative follow-up and owe a bilateral co-management fee. This makes for a very bad payment experience for patients and undermines all of the effort put into ensuring a positive overall experience.

The surgeon has the patient write separate checks for the two or three parties or they have the patient's credit card authorized for the amounts for the three parties. This might involve patients having to sign forms that are faxed to the OD's office, or the card information is given over the phone. This is awkward, an administrative time-sink, and a nuisance for everyone involved.

CoFi’s software platform facilitates payment separation in a simple and easy manner: The patient has a single payment "event" at the surgeon's office, and each party involved in the procedure charges the patient separately and collects directly from the patient. 

If the patient owes $3,500 per eye in total, when the payment is processed via CoFi, the patient will not see $3,500 on their card or bank statement. Instead, they’ll see, for example, a $2,000 charge from the ophthalmology practice, a $500 charge from the OD’s practice, and a $1,000 charge from ASC for the lens—just like they drove to each office and made a payment in person.

CoFi enables practices to implement a compliant payment solution that is far more convenient for the patient and more streamlined for the participating providers.