Nine in 10 consumers want to know their payment responsibility upfront. (Becker Hospital Review)
You’ve likely noticed that a number of individuals are delaying paying their patient medical bills at least some of the time. The reasons for this are many and varied, but it doesn’t have to be this way. There are a number of methods a practice can use to get paid more of what they’re owed and faster. Let’s look at five tips to help your practice get paid faster.
Make sure your staff knows how to discuss finances with patients
Your staff should be approaching your patients with professionalism and kindness. Finances are a touchy subject. Make sure it’s always about having a conversation and never a confrontation. You’re dealing with patients who are likely already stressed out about their medical condition. Staff members adding on the concern of how they’ll pay their patient medical bills doesn’t make the situation any easier. Be sure to be kind and let the patient know you understand what they’re dealing with. Then, work hard to find a payment option that will work for both your patient and the practice.
Work hard for excellent communication
Sometimes the issue with getting paid comes down to poor communication. If your patients feel neglected by your staff or don’t understand their patient medical bills, they’re not going to feel inclined to pay them. One easy way to improve communication is to utilize a patient portal. This makes communication so much easier as your patients can send messages to staff when it’s convenient for them. From there, your staff can reply easily when they become available. Not only can this make patients more likely to pay, but it can also improve patient satisfaction. This is crucial to a value-based reimbursement model as that affects how payers respond to you as well.
Collect payments at time of service whenever possible
Your patient is in front of you, why not collect now? This is one of the single best ways to make sure you get paid in a timely manner. Go ahead and implement a practice of always collecting co-payments when patients are checking in. Then make sure that the staff who is checking patients out addresses any balances on their account before the patient leaves. Again, keep these communications positive, but make sure staff understands the importance. If your practice doesn’t get paid, neither does your staff, after all.
Make sure you accept multiple forms of payment
Your patients are used to having flexibility when it comes to the method they use for paying their patient medical bills. Nothing is more frustrating for them than going to the doctors office and being told they can only pay with cash or check. Give your patients options; this will make them much more likely to pay promptly. Take cash, check, credit card, even methods like Apple Pay if possible. Just make it convenient for your patients and watch the relief on their faces and your A/R numbers go down.
Utilize available payment technologies
You don’t have to be limited to printing off statements and mailing them out to each of your patients. There are better ways to go about doing this. First, save the postage and send billing information by email as much as you can. Secondly, save the effort behind the tedious task of printing, stuffing, and mailing invoices and use a service that will take care of all this for you. The money you save on staff efficiency will pay for the service by itself. Finally, when possible, keep your patient’s credit card securely on file in order to schedule automatic payments on outstanding bills, with your patient’s permission of course.
Yes, getting paid is integral to the success of your practice and the faster you can do it the better. By implementing these five tips and staying on top of your accounts before they get out of hand, you can keep things comfortable and keep your patients happy.