Faced with about $60 billion in uncollectible debt each year, the healthcare industry is searching for ways to get customers to pay up. For Imperial Bank of California, this phenomenon presented an opportunity to help some of its clientsoin this case, independent dentists in Washingtonoextract more payments from patients while the bank benefits from additional revenue generated by increased credit card transactions. "We looked at it as an accounts receivable problem," says Michael Sims, svp of Imperial's healthcare technology group. "Through a combination of using standard credit card technology and access to insurance eligibility, you can cut accounts receivable."

The first implementation of Imperial Bank's Receivables Payment Manager service is in conjunction with Washington Dental Services, the largest provider of dental benefits in the state of Washington. The system enables a dentist's office to determine insurance eligibility for each patient, including co-payment charges and deductible amounts, by entering the patient's social security number into a Hypercom T7GQ point-of-sale (POS) terminal with an integrated QWERTY keyboard.

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