It’s a high-deductible world out there now, and what that means for private medical practices is that patient collections are becoming more and more important. Not only do you need to streamline payer-practice relationships, but it’s now necessary to have a reliable process in place to collect from patients as well. Here are some tips to help improve your financial bottom line when it comes to copays, coinsurance, and other patient liabilities.
- Use waiting time efficiently. Most practices have a 5-10 minute wait for patients to reach an examination room. While it’s nice to have magazines, TV, and other distractions for your patients during this time, a more effective way to use it would be to discuss any outstanding balances. Using practice management software that keeps track of copays, coinsurance, and more can be incredibly useful in this instance. When patients check in for an appointment, your front desk staff can have the information ready. Many practices choose to attempt collection at the end of an appointment, but you may have better luck trying before the patient sees the doctor. This is a good use of their time (rather than keeping your patients after an appointment), and it will increase your chances of getting paid.
- Keep a credit card on file. It’s a no-brainer to accept credit cards for payment...especially if your practice is located in a town with a population of more than 100 (read: just about everywhere). Rather than just accepting credit cards, however, your practice should keep them on file to improve your financial bottom line. Doing so will improve revenue cycle management in a number of ways: faster payment, an easier billing process, and reduced costs and time to mail statements out. This will also take some tasks off your employees plates because the payment process can be automated. A faster checkout for your patients is likely to keep them happy, too.
- Speaking of credit cards... you’ve probably been issued a new credit card with a chip if you personally bank with any of the major credit card companies (Visa, Mastercard, etc). This is called EMV technology, or “chip and PIN” technology. Most merchants are making the switch to accept chip payment if they haven’t already; your private medical practice shouldn’t be any different. Chip technology reduces the chance of fraud, which is good for your practice and for your patients (read here to learn about avoiding embezzlement as well). Most importantly, using EMV technology will keep your practice safe from liability in the event of fraudulent card transactions.
By incorporating the most recent financial and practice management software, your medical practice can increase the chances of getting paid by patients for services rendered. These three tips can help your front desk staff maintain positive relationships with patients while also ensuring the financial health of your practice. For more ideas on how to improve patient collections, click on the button below to download our ebook “Six Steps to Improve Patient Collections.” You may also be interested in learning what to do with patients that can’t or won’t pay...click here to find out!