4 Tips to Optimize Patient Collections

Medicine is a business unlike most because it involves very personal aspects of people’s lives – including their pocketbooks.

Due to high deductible insurance and changing co-pays, patients are increasingly responsible for a larger portion of their health care costs. Collecting these payments adds additional

challenges to most medical staffs. Yet, it is essential that you develop a plan with your staff to keep unpaid co-pays, deductibles and invoices to a minimum.

Accurate data collection

Start by reinforcing with your staff the importance of accurate data collection for every patient, every time.  Verify all demographic information by asking for a patients name, address, phone number and insurance information – without this accurate information, the entire collection system breaks down. A written script by the phone can be helpful to keep your appointment scheduler compliant.

Electronic insurance verification

Check the insurance eligibility of each patient. Staff should know what co-pays or deductibles are due and collect 100 percent of copays every day. Office signage should indicate that all “copays are due at the time of service.”  Staff should check on any unpaid balances and offer to take the payment by phone before scheduling a new appointment.

Make it easy for patients to pay

In addition, you have to make it easy for patients to make payments – accept checks, cash and credit cards.  An online payment portal through your office website makes it easier for patients to be responsible. Virtual terminals should be used for medical back office payments received by mail or over the phone.  Consider a card-on-file protocol or setting up payment plans.  Evaluate your currrent merchant services features and capabilities to ensure the best fit for your practice.

Patient billing protocol

Consider a cycled patient billing process that sends three statements every 28 days and includes an automated reminder call for balances aged over 45 and 90 days.  Statements must be clearly marked “PAST DUE” and provide every payment option available to the patient.  This will improve the likelihood of payment.

Collecting payments should be simple. A service is rendered and then paid for. We know that is not the reality. Implementation of a plan including insurance verification, staff training, better billing practices and good merchant services is a challenge to accomplish as a sole proprietor or smaller medical practice.  Let us help.

AssuranceMD can build these and many other strategies to make your office profitable every day and allow your staff to spend more time with your patients. Please contact us to discuss our services.