Medical billingManaging Collections During COVID-19 managing collections during COVID-19 will be different than it was in the past. It has already changed a lot about how medical practices operate, and in a short amount of time. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that practices need to get paid in order to continue operating. This includes sending patients to collections when necessary.

Managing late or unpaid bills during economic uncertainty may require a different approach than you’re used to. Before you send patients to collections, make sure you take these steps first.

  1. Be upfront about payment expectations from the beginning
    • You should already have a strategy in place regarding informing patients how much they owe for services. Stick to it. Many people are hoping for leeway on certain bills due to the economic impact of COVID-19, but gently remind your patients that for essential healthcare services to continue, practices need to keep revenue flowing, and that means billing will continue as usual.
  1. Set up payment plans
    • If a patient is unable to pay a bill in full, help them set up a payment plan. BillFlash PlanPay lets you set up scheduled, automatic payments to be paid over a set period of time. This is the best option for both you and the patient because:
      • The patient has a more manageable bill
      • Your practice is more likely to be paid in full
    • Setting up a payment plan shows your patients you’re willing to work with them. That’s usually all they need to be assured that you care.
  1. Send out multiple reminders
    • Use whatever resources you have—email, phone, text, mail—to contact patients about balances they owe. Be courteous in your reminders, but firm. Most patients want to pay their medical bills. Often all they need is a simple reminder and an easy way to make the payment.
    • BillFlash helps you manage all of this during the pre-collections phase to help ensure you are paid as quickly and completely as possible.

If none of these steps work, then it’s time to get collections involved.

What to Include in a Collections Letter

Include all the facts of the visit. This includes:

    • Date of service
    • Service provided
    • Amount patient owes
    • Payment options

Tone of the Letter

The right tone in your letter can do more to ensure payment and a continued relationship with the patient than anything else you include. You need to convey a sense of urgency, but without being overbearing and intimidating.

A few tips to keep in mind:

    • Empathize with the patient. Simply saying “We understand you may be experiencing financial difficulties at this time” is more likely to get a response than a curt “final warning” threat.
    • Explain why it is important for the patient to pay anyway. Example: Like any other business, our practice relies on revenue to thrive. In order to continue to provide these valuable healthcare services, patients need to pay their bills in full and on time.
    • Offer a payment plan. Give patients one more opportunity to pay their bill in smaller chunks over a period of time to avoid having their account sent to collections.

We’re all experiencing difficulties during this global pandemic. The only way to get through it is to work together. Being upfront with patients about payment expectations and being willing to work with patients who have fallen on hard times will help all of us through this global health crisis.

BillFlash Collections Services can help you in managing collections during COVID-19, and  simplify and streamline all your other collection processes for you, saving you the headache of exporting, importing, and working with a disconnected agency.

As an EZclaim ‘preferred’ partner, BillFlash is fully integrated with the EZclaim Premier billing application. For more details, view this informational video: https://www.rcm.billflash.com/ezclaim For more information about the EZclaim billing solution, view our website: https://ezclaim.com/