Increase Patient Collections at the Time of Service
From co-payments to deductibles, more and more patients are becoming responsible for a higher percentage of their total healthcare bill. With this in mind, how can you ensure that your patients are paying for these bills so that it doesn’t impact your revenue? Below are some practical and simple proactive strategies that we have found to really help other practice owners and administrators like yourself.
What Can You Do?
Start by checking your patient’s benefits to determine the type of insurance and more importantly to ensure that their plan is actually active. A recent study suggested that over 50% of patients change their insurance plans each year. As insurance companies continue to market their plans to patients, this number is going to continue to rise which will make this determination even more important.
It is also critical to determine if the patient’s deductible has been met to ensure that you are collecting the appropriate amount during the time of service. Often times, this simple action is overlooked which ultimately results in more outstanding AR and less revenue for your practice.
What Else Can You Do?
- Create a financial policy and have each patient sign and date it prior to their treatment.
- Take time to explain the patients responsibility to them at their initial evaluation so there are no surprises
- Collect at time of service, make it part of the patient’s routine at checkout
- If a patient offers to pay, always collect – do not tell them you will collect “next time”
There are so many different personalities and scenarios that PT clinics face on a daily basis when it comes to collecting payment from their patients. Unfortunately, there is not one solution for every case but below are some additional thoughts on ways to approach certain patients with the goal of increasing your patient collections.
- For patient’s that you have identified as having financial hardship, it is important to work closely with the patient to develop a payment plan that is mutually agreed upon by both your practice and your patient. Be proactive and create sample payment plans for your practice to keep on file so that can be presented to patients when appropriate.
- For patients that you believe may cause an issue providing payment for reasons beyond financial hardship, consider establishing an advanced payment technique from the start. By asking your patient’s if they would be willing to pay for their services and co-payments upfront will help ensure that there are no problems receiving payment for your services in the future.
- For some of your more sensitive patients, consider telling them that they have a balance in a way in which they feel in control and think they have leverage. This can be done by making your tone lighter or filling your tone with a little humor so that the patient feels comfortable instead of overwhelmed or angry.
- Schedule consistent invoices for patients that have been discharged and are no longer coming into the office.
When it comes to patient collections there is not always a simple solution. There are a number of different ways to increase your collections but in order to do so, it is important to be knowledgeable on different strategies so that you are able to train your employees accordingly. If you are clear, kind and understand that each patient is different, it will help to develop a variety of ways that work towards increasing your patient collections at the time of service.