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Challenges around patient collections

May 20, 2019

As a therapist we are trained to focus on improving a patient’s independence in daily living tasks, provide intervention to adapt their environment or improve behavioral  providing evidence based interventions while providing a sense of care for the patient and caregivers during their therapeutic journey.

However, in today’s world of healthcare, words such as: deductible, out of pocket maxes, visit limit or non-covered service are becoming a primary focus on families when their child is receiving care.  This not only provides worry for the family but can indirectly impact the plan of care due to insurance coverage dictating the frequency of therapy vs the licensed professional. 

Insurance has made it challenging for pediatric behavioral health companies to fulfill their missions. They not only deny services but change coverage, putting a lot back on families. This results in families receiving large bills for therapeutic services, forcing families to debate continuing medically necessary therapy or paying the exuberant costs around therapy. Many parents find themselves taking out credit cards to pay medical bills just so their child can continue medically necessary therapy.

Even if your practice has strong written financial policies, patient collections are still difficult. Below are some of the most challenges faced around patient collections:

  1. Lack of upfront communication from the business to the patient on the company’s financial policies.
  2. Lack of enforcing financial policies or lax policies that require a person by person review.
  3. Lack of software that can support ease of access for the patient to review and pay bills. Most families prefer to pay bills online.
  4. Lack of an online option to pay bills can ultimately impact your collections.
  5. Lack of education around the patient’s coverage and eligibility. This includes making sure the family understands the terminology in their policy.

In order to reduce the stress on the family and ensure your practice is getting paid for services provided, a clear and adhered to process is crucial. The patient collections process starts at scheduling and check-in and runs throughout the life cycle of care. By following the process, you will avoid each of these challenges. How does your practice handle patient collections? Are they a struggle for your practice?

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