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/

Getting Paid for Telehealth Visits

Telemedicine was already growing in popularity prior to the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. So, as the adoption rate increases, EZClaim clients may have questions about sending telemedicine charges and getting paid for Telehealth visits.

Telehealth challenges can range from issues with technology to getting paid. With Telehealth becoming the norm for many doctor-patient visits, it is important to have a thoughtful approach in place regarding collecting patient payments. To stay in business, you have to get paid for the work you are doing. So, establishing a process for Telehealth consultations is vital to your business, and it should be a top priority to build a successful program from beginning to end.

The answers to the following questions will help set the baseline for how to collect patient payments for
Telehealth visits:

  • What is my process for charging for copays?
  • How and when do I collect outstanding balances?

For example, if you collect a payment before an in-person visit, you should collect a payment before a Telehealth visit, too. There is no need to re-create your process completely. Just change what is needed to match your current in-office routine.

Sending Charges Before a Telehealth Visit

A simple way to send pre-visit charges to patients is to provide them with a link that takes them directly to the payment site. EZClaim’s medical billing solution is integrated with BillFlash LinkPay, which enables customers to provide a payment for the upcoming visit. So, before the Telehealth session begins, the practice simply sends a link to their patient via an e-mail or text, making the appointment confirmation and the payment processing part of the check-in process. After the payment transaction is complete, it will immediately show up on the practice’s BillFlash report. LinkPay is designed to be easy to use, and doesn’t require patients to remember a login or a chart number.

Here’s how EZClaim enables the process through BillFlash:

  1. Prior to Telehealth visit, the patient is sent a link to pay through LinkPay, and another link to join the Telehealth call
  2. Patient pays the required amount through LinkPay, which is immediately confirmed and processed
  3. Patient joins the Telehealth session
  4. Results and follow-up are completed electronically
  5. Insurance billing is completed
  6. Patient receives paper statement or eBill notification for any remaining balance
  7. Patient is directed to pay the remaining balance online at MyProviderLink.com

Automate What Can Be Automated

With so many changes taking place in healthcare, a great way to help protect the financial stability of your practice is to automate what can be automated. This saves your staff time, and decreases your cost of doing business.

One way to do this is to set up automatic payment plans for patients, particularly for those who have been hit hard by the economic impact of COVID-19. A payment plan is a good way of keeping the revenue flowing in, and it shows your patients that your are compassionate and willing to help them through these unprecedented times.

BillFlash also securely stores payment information, so patients will not need to re-enter their information every time they pay a new bill.

As you continue to adjust to Telehealth going forward, BillFlash can simplify patient billing and payments significantly and help getting paid for Telehealth visits.

So, for a LIMITED TIME (during May 2020), EZClaim customers can try BillFlash statement and eBill services for FREE for 30 days. Click on this link for more details about BillFlash or try it out for the next month.

For additional information, call BillFlash at 435-940-9123, or contact EZclaim’s support team at 877.650.0904 or support@ezclaim.com.

[Contributed by James Easley VP, Marketing NexTrust Inc.]

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