8 Ways to Improve Your Patient Payments
BY Sybrid MD
Medical Billing | May 19, 2017
8 Ways to Improve Your Patient Payments
Getting paid for the services offered to your patients is equally important as is the quality of care. However, many physicians and medical practices just focus on providing the care and are not good at following up payments and collections. To close your revenue cycle successfully, physicians should undertake payment collection strategies. These strategies should be shared vigorously with your staff to achieve your revenue goals.
In most of the cases, physicians are overwhelmed with other tasks and lose a major portion of their collections just by ignoring a proper collection plan.
Here are a few tips that can help to improve your patient payments.
Charge for the visit upfront
The best time to receive the payments from your patients is when they actually visit for medical treatment. Clearly communicate your patients about the cost of services and ask for their response. If their insurance plan is not covering the cost entirely then your collection staff should clearly communicate it. The remaining balance has to be paid upfront or right after the services provided.
As soon a patient calls for the appointment, the front office should take the insurance details and check for the eligibility. Your staff should check for if the insurance plan of the patient covers the services. The collection staff should be very clear on it that cost of the treatment is totally a responsibility of the patients.
Offer multiple payment options
Give your patients multiple solutions to pay back their medical bills. Do not restrict your office to receive payments only by cash, offer them to pay with a credit card or debit card and send them outstanding bills through a patient portal. So, when a patient wants to pay via any mode of payment your office should have the mechanism to receive the payment using that method.
Planned collections process
Implement a process of collections by training your staff to ask for the payments at the right moment. The best time to settle your payments is when patients are physically present at your office. Either it is a new visit or a follow-up; keep track of the undue bills of the last visit and communicate it on the next visit. The sooner you ask for the payment the better are the chances of receiving it. Otherwise, due to many factors, a delayed payment is difficult to retrieve and it becomes difficult for your staff to dig up an unsettled account after a certain time.
If by any reason your office is not able to collect the complete fee for the medical services provided, the collection staff should have a payment follow-up strategy. Patients should be reminded through phone calls, emails and through the patient portal about their unpaid bills. It is not advised to pester them unnecessarily; however, the payment follow-ups should be consistent. Choose a right time of the day for follow-up: it shouldn’t be very early in the morning as mostly at that time of the day people are not ready to proper answer such queries. Collections of the unpaid bills; and follow-up with a consistency is a must to ensure a steady flow of your earnings.
Your money is slipping through the cracks
Look for loopholes in your collection system and find areas of improvement. The best approach is to manage your billing through a software system. Today billing software is capable of working integrated with practice management systems which make it easier to keep track of every visit and the outstanding bills. Through the software you can pull the reports for any given time and get status of the unpaid bills. Finding the major cause of nonpayment is the first step to fixing the problem. Look for the reasons of nonpayment, devise a solution and implement the collection strategy.
Review your collections
Maintain a specific time period to review the status of your collections. It can be a weekly review, fortnightly appraisal or a monthly analysis of the overall collections. Reviewing the status of the collections enables you to take the right decisions at the right time. Review of collections at shorter intervals is better than leaving it for a quarter or end of fiscal year.
Consult a professional billing company
An experience medical billing company can help your practice in many ways. Managing ledger of the physicians, preparing medical bills, claiming payments and ensuring maximum collections is their everyday job. Medical billing company can increase your returns by professionally handling your billing, ensuring timely reimbursements and minimize the ratio of unpaid bills by properly following up with the payers.