Gregory Broccoli Announces Start of Collection Procedures
Traditionally, practices have focused on the front desk collecting co-payments and have left co-insurances and deductibles to patient billing after the claim has been processed. This creates a lengthy revenue cycle and less cash flow for the practice. With more responsibility being placed on the patients for these deductibles and co-insurances, practices can no longer survive with traditional billing processes.
Many are starting to deploy new methods such as requiring patients to pay up-front for services when deductibles have not been met. Modifying collection practices is a systematic change for your business with many factors to consider and processes to work through. It is essential to plan and prepare to launch new policies.
Using data to determine if there is a need to modify your collection procedures, You may find there is no need to implement an entire new process for collections but may want to consider new technologies to improve efficiencies or payment options to your patients. Perhaps there are polices in place that are not being enforced and simply require retraining staff and reinforcing the plan with your patients. Review patient aging reports for A/R days and outstanding balances. If patients have balances that appear to be the entire cost of the visit, large balances or have a high number of days in A/R, chances are there is a significant amount going towards unmet deductibles.
Communicating the expectations to your patients ahead of time is an essential part of implementing new workflow and strategies. Making payment policies part of your registration packet assures every patient will have been made aware of your office process from the start. Rather than create matter-of-fact policies, craft a brief message that explains the reasoning behind the policy whenever possible. For existing patients, typically a letter from the Medical Director explaining the need for change and any plans for assisting patients can go a long way in the patient's acceptance of new policies.
Prepare for the change by arming your staff with the tools they need to communicate the new plan; make sure they know where to find the information they need, be comfortable with answering questions from patients, and can navigate the policy for every-day workflow. Requesting payments upfront are likely to be an unpopular policy for patients, but a necessary one for your practice. Developing options to assist patients with these payments can do a great deal to bridge the gap to meet everyone's needs. Credit cards on file, written agreements permitting specific dollar amounts or processing limits gives both the practice and the patient some control over the payment plans.
Consider using technology to assist you by implementing an electronic credit card on file program. There are several secure systems on the market that do not display the credit card information and instead, store key information in the cloud. Charges are made automatically for dates and amounts that have been agreed upon during the initial set up with the patient. Systems can provide a multitude of services from one-time payments, automatic payment plans, payment limitations and automatically sending receipts to the patient's email.
About Gregory Broccoli
Gregory Broccoli has 25 years of ambulatory care and multi-specialty physician operations; his background includes both clinic procedures and administrative. Over the years he has had the ability to examine and re-engineer operations and workflows and report operational metrics to staff and providers. The main principle of a patients office visit is the patient experience. Itís the foundation and fundamental step toward quality healthcare.
Published on: 2018-02-27
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