Maximizing Patient Collections
Maximizing Patient Collections
According to a recent survey, 29 percent of adults have medical debt or trouble paying medical bills. From these numbers, it’s apparent that something needs to be done to improve patient collections. When patients don’t pay you, your practice is at risk. Patient co-pays alone make up about 20% of a doctor’s office revenue, but most physician practices only collect a dismal 60% of patient co-pays. To keep your business running through the onslaught of revenue threats this year, you’ll need a plan of action for improving patient collections. There are few ways for maximizing patient collections while avoiding dramatic changes to your practice.
Use Appointment Reminders to Prompt Bill Payment
Make unpaid balances or payment reminders part of your appointment reminders. When staff contact patients to confirm an upcoming appointment, have them mention any unpaid balance amounts and explain the different options the patient has to pay. Make it clear that patients will be expected to pay before the appointment or when they arrive at the office.
Be Transparent with Patients About Prices
One of the biggest reasons patients don’t pay medical bills? Medical expenses can be hard to budget for. To lower the chances your patients will end up with large medical costs they can’t afford, be as upfront as possible about procedure costs. Check your patients’ coverage before the consultation and factor cost into the discussion. Remind patients who are on high-deductible plans that they will likely be paying out-of-pocket.
Give Patients More Payment Options
Your practice benefits when patients pay their outstanding balance. So, if a patient wants to pay using a reasonable method, there shouldn’t be any restrictions on doing so. This means allowing patients to pay by cash, check, debit/credit card and through an online payment portal. Patients don’t have to travel anywhere or write anything by hand in order to pay their bills online.
Collect Payments via Your Patient Portal
If you want patients to pay your bills, you need to make the process as easy and accessible as possible. Allowing patients to pay online with a credit card can do just that. You’ll also save on the resources required to mail a paper bill, and you can collect payments faster. Plus, promoting online bill pay could get more patients using your patient portal, and help satisfy meaningful use.
Set a Standard Payment Policy
Your practice should have a clear, standardized payment policy that patients are aware of. The reasons are two-fold: it provides backing during difficult payment discussions and gives patients a set of consequences for not paying. When your collections staff is trying to collect payment from a patient having a standard policy reduces the patient’s wiggle room.
Train Staff to Prompt For Payment
Provide your staff with scripts on how to deal with overdue accounts. Even though the staff might be frustrated by repeated attempts to contact the patient, they should always be courteous and respectful. Make sure all front office staff knows when to prompt patients about unpaid bills, and can provide patients with information on practice rates and methods of payment.
Know When to Use a Collections Agency
Set a dollar amount and time limit for referring past-due bills to a collection agency. If you’ve gotten to the 90-day mark and the patient still hasn’t paid, it’s time to consider using a collection service. At that point, it’s unlikely that your staff is going to get anywhere. A notification from a third-party agency can make the patient realize you mean business. The key is in planning the program carefully. Analyze your numbers, so you can find the point at which your practice can offer a motivating incentive to employees while increasing overall revenue.
Be Persistent, Not Annoying
There is a fine line in collections between reminding your patients that they need to pay their bills and harassing them. The FTC’s Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) draws the line. You should call patients to remind them of their debts and try to work out payment, but you must call during “reasonable” hours per the FDCPA. Between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. are considered reasonable hours. Also, calling by phone too frequently is in violation of the FDCPA, although what constitutes as too much is not defined. Violating the FDCPA can leave you open to a lawsuit.
Most time of the providers’ offices gets utilized bringing payment from insurance companies. There is a simpler way, you can contact E2E Medical Billing Services for all your billing requirements. It will free your time for verifying benefits and eligibility for patients, streaming appointments, and most importantly constantly contacting patients for the pending amounts. To know more about our billing and coding services you can call us at 888-552-1290 or write to us at [email protected]