Improve Your Medical Practice Revenue With Payment Options

Improve Medical Practice RevenueEducating patients about their payment options can improve your medical practice revenue.

Imagine for a moment that you are planning to buy a car. Before you even enter a car lot, you do some research on the type of car you need, the features you are looking for, and how much you are able to spend. You might even get an opinion from a friend or check out reviews online.

After you have gathered all the information you need, you feel you are ready to start shopping—and confident that you might even get some new keys by the end of the day.

This is very similar to how most business transactions work: They have a need, they research the best ways to meet their need, and they make a purchase.

However, the healthcare industry doesn’t follow this formula. Your medical practice is a business just like any other, but your customers—aka, patients—often seek out your services not knowing exactly what they will be “buying” from you, nor how much they will be paying. Add in health insurance and surprise bills and you have a confusing hodgepodge of information that calculates the patient’s final bill, which they likely will not see for several weeks.

The current system is inefficient, and it is part of the reason that up to 30% of patient bills go unpaid every year.

Changing the Patient’s Financial Experience
Many practices have improved their revenue flow by simply treating their patients more like customers. In other words, they educate them on the financial side of things, as well as how to manage their health.

In a recent NexTrust webinar, three-quarters of poll respondents (doctors and practice managers) said that they speak to patients about their payment options. Thirty-one percent said that they currently use electronic communications, and only 8% use printed materials (flyers, signs, etc.).

While speaking to patients is a good start, getting payment information in writing is crucial to driving this information home. Patients already have a lot to remember regarding their care. A simple handout on how and when to make their payments can make it much easier for patients to manage their payment responsibility.

Most providers—over 90%—educate patients about how to pay on their statements. It certainly doesn’t hurt to communicate this information this way, but don’t rely on it exclusively. Most people skim the statement to see how much they owe and most miss important instructions.

So, as you educate patients on their payment options, keep these four key areas in mind to improve your medical practice revenue:

1) Set Clear Expectations about Payments
The first step in financially engaging your patients is to remind them you are a business, and that you require regular, on-time payments to keep your doors open. Patients often don’t see their doctors as business owners. A simple statement upfront about your payment expectations encourages patients to be more proactive about paying their bills on time.

2) Educate Patients about Your Payments Process
When patients understand your payments process, they are empowered to be more proactive in participating in it. You know where billing and payments fit into your practice workflow, so make sure patients understand that, too. If you require copays to be paid before a visit, communicate that beforehand so they can be prepared. In addition to that, also communicate clearly about when any remaining balances are due.

3) Push Your Online Payment Options
The best thing you can do to increase payments is to educate patients about their online payment options. Don’t just say “We accept payments online” and leave it at that. Show them where to go to complete payments. Also tell them about the variety of payment options available to them.

For example, EZClaim customers have several online payment options:
• Guest Pay: Patients can quickly pay their balance without having to set up an account
• MyProviderLink.com: If the patient wants access to more features (such as the ability to check their balance without having to call the office or to set up automatic payments), they can register for an account through BillFlash’s payment portal
• LinkPay: The practice sends a payment link to the patient before their visit, so they can pay what they owe before the visit starts
• PlanPay: Split up larger bills into smaller monthly payments

Online payments are the future of healthcare. So, make sure your online payment options are front and center whenever you bill patients. This could include a note in their statement directing them to pay online, handing out instruction cards on how to pay online, and posting signs throughout your office directing patients to your payment portal.

4) Reach Out to Patients You Haven’t Seen Lately
Forty percent of patients defer or skip care because they don’t think they can afford it. Make sure you get the word out to your entire patient base that you can accommodate any patient’s financial circumstances, whether that means setting up a payment plan or delaying payment for a few months. If patients know they have affordable payment options, they will be more likely to seek you out when they need help, rather than going somewhere else or deferring care entirely.

 

Empowering Patients to Take Ownership Over Their Healthcare Bills
Most patients want to pay their medical bills promptly and in full, but being in the dark about what they are being charged for and what their payment options are makes that difficult. The patient financial experience matters, and when you educate your patients on their online payment options and are transparent about costs, they usually respond positively, and you will improve your medical practice revenue.

Learn more about the pay services available to EZClaim customers by visiting their partner’s website, BillFlash.com, or by e-mailing sales@billflash.com.

To learn more about EZClaim’s medical billing software solution, visit their website at EZClaim.com.

[ Written by Angela Carter with BillFlash ]

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/

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