“Why aren’t we collecting complete reimbursements despite getting enough patients in the door?”
Every healthcare practitioner is trying to figure out the answer to this frequently asked question. Because it is very overwhelming for them not to get paid even after delivering quality healthcare services. Before diving into further discussion. Let it be clear that the majority of the healthcare practice lose significant revenue due to the following reasons:
- Failure to collect patients’ co-pays at the time of services.
- High rate of claim denials.
- Inefficient administrative staff.
- Poor billing practices.
- Poorly reimbursing insurance plans.
- Infrequently and improperly updated fee schedules.
Whenever you talk about revenue cycle management, you may always listen about the proactive ways to manage the medical claims efficiently, etc. But have you ever thought or talked about the maximization of the patient collections?
The answer is obvious. The majority of healthcare providers may leave this aspect unnoticed. However, in this challenging era, you need to collect every single dollar to survive in the pandemic hit era. No matter whether it’s collecting payments from insurance companies or patients. In current circumstances, medical practitioners face immense challenges when it comes to collecting patients’ co-pays and deductibles. Do you know that approximately 20% of the physician’s revenue depends on the patient copays?
In some cases, the revenue of some medical practices is highly dependent on the patient collections i.e. 60% of copays. Just think for a while, how can fall down in these collections impact healthcare RCM?
However, it’s also a fact that patients’ collections have undergone a drastic change over the past year. There are various reasons i.e. rising healthcare costs, expensive medical bills, that hold patients back from fulfilling their responsibilities. Which is quite disturbing for both patients & healthcare practitioners.
When Patients Say They Can’t Pay
“I don’t have my chequebook, cash, or credit card right now”.
“I lost my chequebook.”
“My chequebook [or wallet, etc.] is in my car. I’ll be right back”.
You and particularly your registration staff have probably heard these excuses a million times. These situations are undoubtedly difficult to handle. But one strategy that actually works is giving your patients flexible online payment options. Such as; through credit/debit cards, web banking, or other versatile methods. From which patients can pay their copays without paying a physical visit to your medical practice. When your patients feel convenient to fulfil their responsibility from any corner of the world, their chances of reluctance decreases. And physicians witness an increase in revenue collections. It’s pertinent to mention here that accepting credit cards is the best way to deal with such lame excuses. For instance, when patients forget to bring their wallet, chequebook to the visit. They can simply pay through their credit cards, even after leaving your hospital.
Online payment options witnessed a surge from last year. Because the rapid adoption of telemedicine due to the pandemic is one of the major driving factors. That needs innovation in methods of paying medical bills. So, if you are still using orthodox methods to collect payments from the patients. Then stop using them immediately. Because, in this modern era, where every payment is just a single click away. Patients are in search of innovation. It has been observed that patients prefer to get healthcare services from hospitals that provide innovative payment options.
Ways to Improve Patient Collections
Here are the proactive strategies to maximize the patients’ copayments.
1. Comprehensive Medical Bills
Preparing comprehensive and easy-to-understand medical bills is the first step towards successful patient collections. It’s a fact that most of the patients can’t understand their financial obligations, because of the complexities of the bills. Therefore, physicians should make sure that their billing team prepares comprehensive medical invoices, containing no slang or difficult medical terminologies. In this way, patients can get a complete understanding of the healthcare costs they are going to pay.
2. Distribute a Written Policy to All Patients
Just like other businesses, healthcare practice also requires well-defined financial policies. Therefore, it’s crucial to develop and distribute policies of your practice to the patients. So, they can stay updated about the terms of conditions in case they don’t pay their dues. Furthermore, your financial policy must clearly mention when co-pays are collected, what payment options are available. Whether resources are available for making alternate arrangements (like payment plans).
The best way to avoid any inconvenience in the future, physicians should ask the new patients to read. And give their written consent to the payment policy before receiving medical treatment.
3. Train Your Registration Staff
The maximum patient collection also depends on the capabilities of your front desk staff. They are responsible to educate patients and collect out of pocket costs. Therefore, you should hire well-experienced and qualified staff for these responsibilities. That can answer the insurance-related queries efficiently. Additionally, it is the responsibility of the registration staff to provide a rough estimate of the medical treatment before providing the healthcare services. In this way, patients will become better able to make a wise decision, whether or not they can afford the treatment.
Moreover, healthcare providers should conduct regular training sessions for the front desk staff. This enables them to have complete know-how about effective communication strategies to convince the patients to pay their co-payments.
If All Else Fails, Take Action
Despite offering flexible payment options, distributing financial policies, sending payment alerts, and other polite methods. If your patients are still not fulfilling their responsibilities, then it’s time to take action. Which you have mentioned in the financial policy, in case of a patient failing to pay their copays. When patients are continuously involved in violating the policies, rude to staff, or make unreasonable requests. Then most of the time healthcare providers prefer to dismiss their patients.
Do you want to know more tactics for maximizing revenue collections and simplify your practice billing? Stay in touch with the Medical Billing Benefits. It is the most authentic source to stay up-to-date with the latest reforms in the healthcare industry. Subscribe to our newsfeed and never miss an update.