South Florida Hospital News
Sunday May 24, 2020
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June 2014 - Volume 10 - Issue 12

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Four Tips for Improving Your Practice Collections

Collections have become more important for medical practices over the last few years because of the increases in patient responsibility, and there are no signs that this is slowing. Collections challenges come hand in hand with patient payments - but fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize these challenges.
 
Your chances of collecting patient amounts drop to less than 40% after the patient leaves your office, while your chances of collecting before the patient sees the doctor are greater than 80%. That’s why it’s important to start the collections process even before the first appointment. Here are 4 tips to help improve your collections:
 
1. Make Sure Your Staff Is On Board
Unfortunately, some staff members dislike collecting payments. This attitude clearly will not facilitate good collection levels, so it’s important to get them on board. Communicate how the collection of patient payments translates to continued ability to care for patients, in addition to providing job security for everyone in the practice. If you also provide care for low or no cost to those who can’t pay, remind your staff that this is made possible at least in part by collecting payment from those who can pay.
 
2. Give Your Staff the Tools They Need
Staff members may be uncomfortable simply because they don’t know how to handle the situation. Scripts, signs and forms that communicate financial policies can help alleviate this discomfort. Just knowing how to say that payment for copays is due before the appointment will simplify the process and make them much more comfortable. In addition, they should understand that politely but firmly requiring payment will not - and should not - offend the vast majority of patients.
 
3. Understand the Types of Payers
There are four types of payers, and each type responds to requests for payment differently. Be sure you understand the differences between these types of payers:
• Reliable - Will usually pay from statement
• Distracted - Reminders usually generate payment
• Disrespectful - Require third party impact
• Professional Debtor - Professional collectors required
 
4. Make a Plan – and Use It
Make sure you have an up-to-date collections plan, which should include:
• A Financial Policy that details patient responsibility and is distributed and signed by each patient
• Training for your staff so that they understand what should happen at each step
• Patient statements and letters set up in your medical billing software so they are sent automatically at the appropriate points
• Track and manage your results with regular reports available in your medical billing software
 
As a final step, join us for our free webinar on May 21: 8 Keys for Optimizing Your Practice Cash Flow. In this informative session, you’ll learn more about the four types of payers and what works for each, setting up an effective collections process, and more. Register at http://ehr.healthfusion.com/cash-flow-webinar-registration.
Kathy McCoy, MBA, is Director, Content Marketing, for HealthFusion. She can be reached at kmccoy@HealthFusion.com.
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