Obviously, collecting payments is crucial to the profitability and cash flow of your medical practice. However, due to the trend these days toward more high-deductible plans and higher co-pays, many patients are finding it difficult to pay their bills.
This means your billing staff – whether you hire in-house or outsource to a professional medical billing service – must become increasingly savvy at collecting payments. Coronis has the experience and training you can rely on to help you not just receive payments but collect them more quickly.
Here’s how to improve collections for more consistent, more efficient cash flow:
7 Ways to Improve Collections
1.Train front-desk staff
Train your staff to collect payments and verify coverage before the patient even sees you. Make sure they know to inform patients of balances, payment options, payment deadlines, etc.
One way to do this is to have them learn scripts because it can help them know what to say and how to say it when answering patient questions. Plus, this instills respect, courtesy, and professionalism regardless of how many times something must be repeated or patients must be contacted about an unpaid bill.
2. Create transparency
Patients are often shocked by expenses that haven’t been budgeted for, a major reason it’s difficult to collect payments. A solution to this is to inform patients of exact costs so that patients know what they’ll be paying and, thus, can determine if they can afford it.
One recommendation to increase transparency: post signs around the office that clearly states terms and points about payment policies.
3. Offer Various Payment Options
When you offer a variety of payment options, it’s easier for patients to pay. In fact, it’s been found that offices offering the options to pay by credit or debit cards and via online enjoy higher collection rates. Offering payment plan options is a good idea, as well, especially for expensive services/procedures.
4. Notify Patients Regularly
This is in-line with offering various payment options, as anything that simplifies patient payments leads to a better collections rate. We recommend notifying patients more regularly, particularly in the following ways:
- Make phone calls
- Send text alerts via smartphone
- Email notices
- Allow them to pay online from their billing statements
5. Track collection results regularly
Review the collections process if your collections strategy isn’t working well. Don’t be afraid to try another strategy, as another one may work better for you. It’s a good idea to have monthly (or regular) meetings about financial matters to brainstorm how to improve collections.
If necessary, contact patients monthly – or even as often as once a week or every two weeks – to get overdue bills paid. Another possibility to improve collections is to offer incentives to your staff since this task can be challenging.
6. Use billing software
Don’t have software designed for billing? This could be a major factor if your collections are lagging. Billing software helps streamline practice management in the following ways:
- Tracking all bills
- Identifying patients whose payments are behind schedule
- Calculating overdue fees and automatically assessing them
While it’s true that installing this type of system – or even overhauling your old one – could mean shelling out a lot of money, it’s an investment that will help you in the long run.
7. Partner with a medical billing service
Finally, if your in-house staff is so overloaded that it’s compromising patient focus, consider outsourcing your billing services to a professional medical billing company. For example, Coronis is adept and experienced at billing operations and collecting payments. We work on your behalf to ensure proper cash flow and increased profitability.
This allows you to focus on patient care while your collections increase and past dues decline.