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How to Improve Patient Collections

Author: Outsource Strategies International
by Outsource Strategies International
Posted: Apr 13, 2015

Reducing patient accounts receivable (AR) is key to ensuring the financial health of your practice. Recent payment trends show that increasing deductibles, copays, and out-of-pocket expenses now form a major share of collections. Not collecting patient balances negatively impacts cash flow and can affect the physician-patient relationship. An efficient medical billing team would adopt the right strategies to ensure success with patient collections. Let's take a look at these measures.

Patient Collection Strategies

  • Develop a Financial Policy - Create a written policy for your practice and post it on your website. Include procedures for dealing with the most common types of collection scenarios, financial assistance programs, account resolutions and collections in easily understandable language. With this, patients will know what to expect.
  • Verify Eligibility and Information - Verification of insurance coverage, demographic details and co-pay amount can provide valuable information before the patient checks in.
  • Collection of Co-pays at the Time of Service - This is an important strategy since it reduces A/R as well as keeps the practice compatible with payer contracts. You can also remind the patient about the past dues so that these can also be collected at the same time.
  • Balance Due at Checkout - After verifying co-insurance and deductibles with the payer, collect the balances due on these at checkout. If you do not have sufficient information to collect them, make sure that the patient is informed of the responsibility to pay.
  • Use Credit Card on File - Setting up CCOF allows physicians to collect co-pays, deductibles and outstanding balances without having to send out statements. Patients need to fill out an authorization form to provide their credit information and the maximum amount to be charged along with the valid time period.
  • Redesign the Collection Cycle - Don’t follow a monthly cycle for collections as this lengthens A/R and reduces the chances of getting paid. Print the initial statement when the patient checks out or send it within 24 hours of the visit as soon as the due amount is identified. You should also be able to track the number of statements that each patient has received to improve your collection efforts.
  • Consider Deposits Prior to Expensive Procedure - As high-dollar procedures are already planned in the outpatient setting, practice usually get the time to collect the patient portion. Be informed of the due balance and collect the deposit before the procedure. Review coverage with the patient and discuss how and when the balance will be paid.
  • Online Portal for Payments - Online bill pay is really fast, easy and secure. With an online portal, patients can pay as soon as they receive the statement.

Busy physician practices do not have the time or skills for revenue management. Partnering with a professional medical billing and coding company can ensure efficient patient responsibility follow-up management. Such companies work directly with patients to set up payment plans if needed and monitor the payments. They help patients interpret their EOBs and answer all their billing questions. They offer services using the latest technology and ensure HIPAA compliance in all the processes.

About the Author

OSI is a leading healthcare BPO company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, focused on providing reliable medical billing and coding services.

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Author: Outsource Strategies International

Outsource Strategies International

Member since: Apr 12, 2015
Published articles: 18

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