5 Things to Consider as You Reopen Your Medical Office

Reopen Your Medical OfficeThere are five things to consider as you reopen your medical office: Reevaluate your budget; Get your staff’s buy-in; How to actively bring patients back into the office; Continuing to use Telemedicine and other online tools; and be flexible.

As the curve flattens and restrictions around the country loosen up, medical practices are slowly reopening their doors for non-essential services. But reopening doesn’t mean business will resume as usual. Every industry is making changes as we navigate a “new normal.”

Many of those changes center on social distancing guidelines, but there are other matters to consider as well. Here are some details about the strategies to keep in mind as you reopen.

Reevaluate Your Budget

Government restrictions may be lifting, but medical practices are not going to bounce back immediately. Any financial goals you had in place for 2020 likely won’t be met this year.

Some budgetary adjustments will be necessary. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Check in with vendors, landlords, and creditors to discuss any accommodations they may have for cash-flow disruptions
  • Consider delaying payment of bonuses and other discretionary payments
  • Seek aid from government economic relief packages and loans for small businesses and front-line workers. Stay informed on what your options are, as changes are ongoing.

This goes without saying, but make sure you’re up to date on patient billing and payments, too, including telemedicine visits. If you have patients who need extra time to pay their bills, EZClaim customers can set up a payment plan for them using BillFlash PlanPay.

Get Your Staff’s Buy-In

Before you start bringing patients back in, your entire medical staff needs to understand your new policies and be on board with enforcing them. They need to be reassured that their safety is a top priority, as well.

It’s been a difficult few months for front-line healthcare workers, and will continue to be stressful in the months going forward. Do what you can to acknowledge their hard work and dedication.

Actively Bring Patients Back to the Office

Some people are eager to get out of their homes and into public spaces again, while others plan to shelter in place a while longer. Either way, your patients aren’t going to return in droves. Many are less comfortable going back to a doctor’s office, so be proactive about making your patients feel safe enough to return.

Americans have become experts on how viruses spread over the past few months, so anything you’re doing to clean and sanitize your office should be visible. Affixing physical distancing floor markers, procuring enough PPE for your staff, and installing hand sanitizer stations is a good start. Show your patients what you’re doing to protect them; simply telling them what you’re doing when they aren’t around won’t be enough.

As you communicate your new policies to patients, be aware that they may be feeling overwhelmed. Be transparent and connect with them on a personal level. Don’t be afraid to show your human side; otherwise, your office will be just another place with a long list of rules to follow.

Keep Using Telemedicine and Other Online Tools

The technology that got you through stay-at-home orders can continue to support you long term. Telehealth isn’t going away. Plus, patients will still want contactless payment options.

Evaluate what has worked over the last few months and incorporate them as part of your new normal.

For example, you may want to have a plan in place regarding which patients get priority with Telehealth. At-risk individuals will still need to stay home as much as possible, so make sure Telehealth will still be an option for them.

Another tool that has been valuable during the pandemic is contactless payments. COVID-19 has changed the way people are paying—for the good. They want the option to pay their bills online, or directly from their mobile devices. Some patients will even consider switching providers if another practice offers them online payment options their current provider doesn’t have.

EZClaim easily accommodates a variety of payment preferences with its BillFlash integration, from online SelfPay to sending pre-visit charges for telemedicine visits (LinkPay). Sign up for a demo here. You can try BillFlash, at no cost, for 30 days.

Be Flexible

Local outbreaks may still happen. Many households have lost income. Patients have different preferences and needs regarding where an encounter happens and how they pay.

Things are still changing by the week. As much as we all want a new, consistent normal, we need to be prepared to continue to make adjustments as needed. Ultimately, it is your patients and your practice’s financial health that will benefit from your ability to adjust with the times.

BillFlash, a fully integrated component and trusted partner of EZClaim, offers a variety of revenue cycle management services that have served EZClaim customers well for many years, as well as through the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information or to see a demo, contact BillFlash at 435-940-9123, email them at GetPaid@BillFlash.com, or visit their website at BillFlash.com.

For detailed product features or general information about EZClaim, you can either schedule a one-on-one consultation  with our sales team, view a recorded demo, or download a FREE 30-day trial right now.

For general information about EZClaim, visit our website at ezclaim.com/

Managing Collections During COVID-19

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/

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