The state of healthcare accounts receivable management has reached a critical stage. According to recent research by Becker’s Hospital Review, “One in five working-age Americans with insurance encountered problems paying medical bills in the past year.” A slightly higher number (53%) of uninsured Americans faced similar difficulties.
High deductibles, past-due balances, unexpected injuries and illnesses, and bills from multiple providers all play a part in creating financial crises for healthcare professionals. However, outsourcing collections can help medical providers boost profits.
- Experienced Debt Collectors Understand How to Work With Patients
As a medical provider, you understand how important compassion and courtesy are when dealing with patients. Experienced debt collectors have the same knowledge, except that instead of dispensing diagnoses and medical advice, they help consumers find ways to pay their medical bills.
Consumers aren’t as worried about medical debt, partly because FICO has deemphasized medical debt in its calculations of credit scores. People don’t have to worry about taking a serious hit to their credit histories if they’re late on medical bills. To clear open accounts, you need an experienced third party who can work with your patients to resolve outstanding bills.
The best debt collectors understand that patients often struggle with medical debt, largely because it’s often unexpected. You can’t work a broken leg or sudden illness into your budget, so patients often feel overwhelmed by the sudden financial burdens they face.
Debt collectors that value honesty, transparency, and courtesy can help patients work out payment plans that fit with their budgets and reduce any negative feelings about the issue.
- The Rules Keep Changing
Medical providers have plenty of laws and regulations to keep up with. You don’t want to have to add debt-collection regulations to the mix.
Keeping up with the ever-evolving laws and regulations about collecting debt — especially in the healthcare industry — can eat up valuable time and put unnecessary stress on your administrative staff. When you outsource your debt collection needs, you put your accounts receivable into capable hands.
- You Value Your Relationship With Your Patients
When a patient visits your office, he or she needs help with a medical problem. Your patients might be scared, frustrated, uncomfortable, or in pain, and you don’t want to endanger your relationship with them by throwing money issues into the mix.
The debt-collection process can take time, especially when you handle it in-house, and even if you’re courteous and empathetic, your patients might view calls and letters about unpaid bills as a personal affront. That’s the last thing you want because it can disrupt the cycle of care and jeopardize your relationships with your patients.
Outsourcing your debt-collection needs allows you to focus on what you do best: Helping your patients get and feel better.