Medical billing and the overall process of patient collections is essential to practice efficiency. Cashflow fuels every business, and healthcare is no exception. Improvement in the billing will help practitioners in maximizing their income and improving the healthcare practice management. Here in this blog, we will share some of the most effective tips that will help to boost patient collections.
- One of the primary challenges medical practices & healthcare providers face during the payment collection process is having high deductible health plans.
- Surprise medical bills may create problems for your medical practice leading to patient dissatisfaction.
- It is essential to ensure that all your patient records are accurate. Outdated data on patient insurance plans and outstanding balances are among the most common barriers to payment delays.
- Having a standardized payment policy will be helpful for your collecting staff to collect payment from patients and reduce the patient’s wiggle room.
- Outsourcing your billing and claims processes will help your staff to keep their focus on patient-critical tasks and get paid faster.
Role of Collecting Staff in Your Practice’s Success
The financial success of your medical practice is solely dependent upon the performance and efficiency of your front desk healthcare staff. They are not just the face of your clinic, but they are the people accountable for the benefit verification, data entry, and patient payment collection that take your practice from a financial loss to a profit. The role of excellent staff is no more than a strong pillar or foundation that helps increase patient satisfaction and boost the overall revenue of the healthcare practice.
In the old-time, your billing staff just need to provide an estimate of a medical procedure or consultation service, attach the proper patient documents, and give the necessary information to the insurance payer, who would pay the expense. But now the things have changed significantly due to several reasons, including the increase of patient payment liability.
Challenges Practitioners Face During Payment Collections Process
Firstly, the primary challenge healthcare practices face is that more customers now have a high deductible plan. Also, the patient-payable part of insurance plans has increased significantly.
Hence the practitioners’ burden has increased, and they need to handle their payment collection process wisely. This payment collection process may include analyzing what the insurer will pay and won’t pay, collecting payments from consumers, following up for dues, and sometimes creating an installment payment method. To some extent, it has raised the administrative load for physician practices.
Secondly, surprise medical bills may also create a problem for your medical practice. It usually leads to patient dissatisfaction, and so patients are more prone to go for an alternative the next time they need medical help. You can overcome this problem and ensure pricing transparency by sending patients a cost estimate before the visit via online communication or mobile text alerts.
With a current pandemic situation due to COVID-19, we are confronted with a different world. Even in areas where the lockdown has been removed, normalcy is still not returned. Most of the people are still preferring work from home. Hence practitioners need to continue offering remote consultations and collecting payments through other methods, like an online credit card payment.
Tips To Boost Patient Collections
Delays in payment collection will be incredibly damaging to your profitability. You can boost your patient collections process and improve the overall revenue of your healthcare practice by following these amazing tips.
1. Accurate Patient Recording System
It is essential to ensure that all your patient records are accurate. Outdated data on patient insurance plans, contact details, and outstanding balances are some of the most common barriers to payment delays. Your staff should be smart enough to utilize patient interaction with every patient to verify the recorded information. Also, your healthcare practice needs to update this system by opting for Computer-based patient recording, also commonly known as Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR). Also, if your management system does not exhibit open balances on the patient level, you need to consider upgrading your billing platform.
2. Offer Multiple Payment Options to Patients
Offering patients with multiple payment options will benefit your practice. Online payment option is thought to be the future norm as it is convenient for patients to pay from anywhere. Consider allowing virtual terminals and card-on-file that can be integrated with your payment plans, patient portal, and mobile payment are some of the most effective and accessible solutions. According to a 2006 New York Times article, 35% of the US population prefer paying bills through online methods. One can only assume the number has increased since then.
3. Consistent Reminders to Patients
There is a fine line between reminding patients about their unpaid payments and harassing them. Patients are more prone to choose someone whose approach towards collecting payment is friendly than with one they find threatening. Use a systematic way to remind patients of your payment plan policy. Send out patient statements regularly and contact patients whose payments are due.
4. Setting a Standard Payment Policy
You should set a clear and standardized payment policy for your healthcare practice mentioning the consequences to the patients for not paying. Having a standard policy will be helpful for your collecting staff to collect payment from patients and reduce the patient’s wiggle room. They can’t make excuses if everything is clearly outlined in your policy.
5. Removing Communication Barriers
Communication is considered the most crucial element for the success of any business. Communicate with your patients before their visits and ask them if they have a deductible to meet. It will be a plus point for your practice if you know your average payment per visit for your top payers. Give your patients complete detail about the things they will be responsible for paying at every visit.
Outsourcing your billing and patient claiming process will facilitate your healthcare staff to keep their focus on patient-critical tasks and help your healthcare practice to get paid faster. At Millennium Medical Billing, our dedicated staff efficiently handles the overall boost patient collections process of several healthcare providers and medical practices and thus ultimately helps in improving the overall revenue cycle of your healthcare center.