With ever-rising healthcare costs, the healthcare industry at large has been compelled to engage in even more assertive collection practices in order to safeguard the livelihood of health-related businesses, especially those dependent on patient payments. Skyline Medical Billing Management understands that patient co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance payments are dollars that your Prescott medical practice cannot afford to lose through inadequate billing and collection practices.
Skyline Medical Billing Management offers these guidelines:
What you should do:
- Be up front. The best time to tell a patient about your payment policy is when they are scheduling their appointment. Prior notice prepares patients to pay when they arrive at the office.
- Be repetitive. Documentation, signage, pamphlets and easy-to-see notices where they check-in, check-out, and enter into patient-only areas are part of reminding and encouraging your patients to be prepared to meet their responsibility.
- Motivate. It is more cost effective to motivate patients through discounts for timely payments than it is to pay outside collection costs or sustain complete losses.
- Offer payment plans. Out-of-pocket expenses can sometimes genuinely be outside of your patients’ immediate ability to pay. A no- or low-interest payment plan could be the difference between getting fully paid in a reasonable amount of time versus only getting partially paid, or worse.
What you should not do:
- Ignore the problem. Of course, unless it’s an emergency, do not allow patients to continue to accrue bills when previous bills remain unpaid.
- Prematurely assign accounts to third-party collection agencies. Put the ‘good practices’ into place first and only send accounts to collection agencies when all else fails. Collection agencies are not known for their compassion, and your practice’s reputation could suffer as a result.
- Ignore delinquencies. When the patient arrives for a new visit, that is the time to remind them of their outstanding bill and your expectation of them to pay it.
As uncomfortable as it may be for some, collecting the patient’s portion of a bill has to be done and is as vital to your office as collecting from insurance companies. For more information on how we can assist you in your practice, call the billing and collecting experts at Skyline Medical Billing Management today at 928-227-1167.