Establishing a clear collections process for your patients can dramatically improve your revenue cycles. By informing your patients of these clear steps, you implement procedures that will eventually ensure the financial health of your practice. Your payment collections processes should include the following easy steps at a minimum.
Establish clear terms
Have a clear policy that is published and easily accessible to your patients. These should also be reviewed with your patients in person when possible.
Collect patient information
All information about your patient should be collected at intake and maintained in a secure system. Keep things like photo ID, addresses, and work details on file and up to date.
Being sure to have an up-to-date address for your patient is one of the easiest ways to ensure payment in the future and keep from wasting time and money tracking down this information after they have left the appointment.
Get permission to leave messages
Be sure to get permission to leave voicemail messages for patients about billing. This will allow for faster communication in the future should you need to contact them about billing matters.
Remind patients about co-pays
Talk to your patients directly about co-pays so that they have a clear understanding of what it means and when it is expected to be paid. Insurances change so frequently that the patient may honestly not know and you are in a position to help them with that.
Verify eligibility regularly
Be sure to check your patient’s insurance eligibility frequently. This will help reduce claim denials and delayed payments. A third-party medical billing company is a great resource to help make this happen.
Collecting payment upfront and prior to providing services is another way to ensure payment and make billing easier.
Clarify with patients what their payment options actually are, such as credit cards, checks, or even cash. Payment plans may be necessary, as well.
Send physical letters in the mail to patients about when their bill is coming due, overdue, or is about to be sent to collections.
By implementing these steps right from your patient’s first appointment, you can feel confident that they are informed and consent to the payment plan. With this clear communication in place, patients are much less likely to be surprised by their bill and much more likely to pay.