Collecting high deductibles up front before a healthcare visit is a best practice.
Medical debt collection is one of the most difficult of revenue recovery practices to follow. That’s because the modern medical practice is engaged in providing compassionate care to their clients. The last thing anyone wants to do is cause more distress by asking patients to pay up.
With the rise of high deductible insurance models, both the front desk and back office are tasked with collecting large sums of money, sometimes up front, from a patient who may be very ill.
But declining reimbursement has forced medical practices and hospitals to be more aggressive in their collection practices. Today, there is not a single facility in the country that can operate under the heavy load of too many past due receivables.
However, how a healthcare provider engages in collecting is just as important as how much they collect. This article shares some tips we’ve learned about medical debt collection in the healthcare field.
Turns out, there is a fine line between collections and customer service. This article shows you how to walk it.
Medical Debt Collection Tips from Rocket Receivables
It is extremely important for medical providers to clearly state their collection practices during the scheduling process. Pre-qualifying insurance coverage and discussing patient financial responsibility prior to the visit are imperative to maintaining a pleasant patient experience. Addressing this issue before the visit, during the appointment reminder call, and then reiterating it when the patient arrives, will help ensure there will be no misunderstandings that could lead to an aged balance later on.
Your collection policies can be reiterated in a variety of ways; for example, posting signs in the office saying co-pays must be collected at the time of visit is just one way to reinforce and remind patients of their responsibilities.
One option is encouraging self-pay patients with a discount on prompt cash payments. For patients with very high deductibles or out-of-pocket costs, you may consider a payment plan simply to create a culture of patient satisfaction. But always require some sort of “down payment” as a show of good faith and to reinforce their commitment to paying for services rendered.
But practices should not generally continue to provide non-urgent care to patients who have a seriously delinquent account. Clinical providers must always balance medical debt collection with their compassionate commitment to providing quality care.
Always try to work out payment plans with patients and be compassionate. Not doing this sends the wrong message and your reputation will suffer as a result. However, if a patient arrives and has a past due balance, it’s important to remind them of their responsibilities in a way that encourages them to continue as a patient in good standing. The front desk staff is crucial to this process.
Medical practices can struggle to collect fees up front during the patient visit.
It is very common for hospitals and medical practices to make mistakes by collecting insufficient funds prior to treatment. Physicians Practice magazine suggests that the issue can be resolved with training, monitoring, and improved accountability.
All of these techniques will help small and large clinical providers in every specialty area with cash flow. To request info on how a professional medical debt collection firm can help collect your past due receivables in an empathetic way to maintain your valuable patient relationships, contact Rocket Receivables today.