With patient payment responsibility increasing each year, medical practices need to be extra diligent in collecting patient payments. This includes sending accounts to collections when necessary. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make collections easier and more effective—both of which contribute to more revenue for your practice.
Here are three ways to improve your medical billing collections.
1. Be clear about your payment expectations
Make sure patients know when they will be expected to pay, and what payment methods you accept. Collecting copays before each visit is one of the best ways to avoid having accounts sent to collections, so making payment a part of the check-in process is a good idea. Post signs throughout the office to keep bills top of mind for patients. The more reminders you give patients about their payment responsibility, the less you will have to deal with collections.
2. Reach out to patients who have stopped paying
Keep an eye on delinquent accounts. If an account is approaching 30-60 days past due, it’s time to reach out to the patient. Try to have an empathetic conversation to see what you can do to help them pay off their bill. If they are experiencing financial difficulties, offer to adjust the payment terms to something more suitable to their situation. Even if it means you are only collecting part of their payment now, both the practice and the patient will be better off in the long run.
3. Automate what you can
The collections process is slow and cumbersome—if you’re doing everything manually. Software like BillFlashIntegrated Collection Services saves your staff a lot of time by handling the manual processing for you. After that, all you need to do is approve which accounts to send to collections, based on the aging and amounts you prefer, and a collections expert will get to work collecting your revenue.
ABOUT EZCLAIM: As a medical billing expert, EZClaim can help the medical practice improve its revenues since it is a medical billing and scheduling software company. EZClaim provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, EZClaim helps improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, email them, or call them today at 877.650.0904.
[ Contribution from the marketing team at BillFlash ]
Medical billing 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.
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.
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.
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
Amount patient owes
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 bills in smaller chunks over a period of time to avoid having their accounts 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 inmanaging 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.
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