Are you satisfied with your collections from your patients? Would your practice benefit from more revenue from your patients? With more patients having higher co-pays and deductible amounts, it is imperative that providers find effective ways to collect amounts that are assigned to patients. The increase in this revenue is crucial to your practice’s vitality.
Here are 10 ways you can improve your collections from patients:
1. Check patient eligibility and benefits with insurance carriers once services have been scheduled. This can be done by checking insurance websites or by calling the insurance carriers. Some practice management systems and clearinghouses also have the ability to check patient eligibility. Obtain co-pay and deductible amounts that the patients will be responsible for.
2. Obtain prior authorizations from insurance companies for services your patients are scheduled to receive. Retain the approvals or document the authorization numbers to utilize on appeals in cases where payments are denied on approved services.
3. Pre-register patients by contacting them before they are seen to let them know the cost of their procedures and their estimated responsibility amounts. We recommend that providers be transparent about their fees to avoid surprises on the patient side. When patients are informed, it gives them the ability to come up with a plan to pay for their services. This is also a good time to notify the patients of any unpaid previous balances. Your staff will need to be insistent with your patients that they are expected to pay their balances before their appointments or when they arrive at the office, and before any more services are rendered.
4. Train your front desk staff on how to collect money from patients before services are rendered. By the time patients arrive at the front desk, they should already be aware that they are expected to remit their payments before receiving services. Because most people are uncomfortable asking for money, we recommend creating scripts for your staff to eliminate variance of information and to boost confidence in knowing what to say to an uncooperative patient.
5. Make sure that your billing software has the ability to keep track of your collection cycles so that patients receive consistent statements or notifications, whether they are electronic or in paper form.
6. Make it as easy as possible for your patients to pay their bills. Some options are: (a) online bill pay; (b) software or application that make it fast and easy for patients to remit payments; (3) credit card on file, which automates the payment process for the patient.
7. Offer as many payment options as possible to your patients. For higher balances, monthly payment plans or partnering with a healthcare finance company are good options.
8. Obtain updated patient demographical information, ensuring that patient addresses (e.g. physical addresses and email addresses) and contact telephone numbers are valid and current. Statements or notifications do not do any good if they do not reach the patients.
9. Track your collection efforts on a monthly basis to see if your processes are working or need to be modified.
10. Partner with a third-party billing company who can expertly manage the collection process to increase your revenue so that you and your staff can concentrate on patient care.
Physician Revenue Navigators is a premier company that provides revenue management for healthcare entities. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you collect more money.