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Patient Payment Balance - When Should You Move Them To Collections?

November 20, 2013

Providers place patient balances in the hands of a collection agency when the situation grows out of control. However, opting for debt professionals is not always the best option for a medical practice to retrieve payments. There are ways with which seeking help from outside collection agencies can be avoided without causing harm to cash flow.

Are you recovering the entire amount?

Even after recovering delinquent funds, approximately 30-40% of the collected total is charged as commission by collection agencies. Due to this, only a small percentage of the balances placed under their service are earned by medical practices. Therefore, turning an account to collections should only be a last resort for providers.

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Don’t put your practice reputation at stake:

Compared to any other sector, issues related to collector behaviour are more sensitive in the healthcare industry. Practices should not take help from collectors frequently because any aggression caused while payment collection can put their reputation at stake. Since providers will be entrusting the collector to act on their behalf, they need to ensure that the agency is not representing the practice poorly.

  • Physicians should not write off patient balances that are caused due to various scenarios such as, inefficiency of the staff in collection of patient co-pay, deductible upfront or coinsurance in the right manner
  • Your staff needs to be assertive and ensure full payment. Patients should be asked to pay the necessary amount at the time of check-in
  • In case the patient fails to pay for the services in a reasonable amount of time, an internal collection policy needs to be implemented under which constant follow-up should be done. Your staff should be firm as well as generous in seeking payments
  • If this doesn’t work for 1 or 2 months in a row, phone calls and warning letters can be sent stating the cancellation of future services for that patient
  • When the final date arrives, a letter of dismissal can be sent along with a notification that the account is going to collection agency

Practices can write off small balances as losses; however, if the amount is huge, it is advisable to hire a trusted collection agency for the sake of your reputation and quick services.

How to get paid on time?

It is essential for practices to implement a firm payment policy for avoiding payment collection issues. However, considering the lack of time and skilled staff, striking a balance between patient care and administrative functions becomes daunting for providers.

Outsourcing medical billing services to companies like Medicalbillersandcoders.com has not only helped practices get paid on time but the headache of claim filing, error-free coding, follow-up with insurance companies, HIPAA compliance and other important tasks has been eliminated. MBC has the largest consortium of medical billers and coders who are focused on ensuring timely payments for every service offered. The team is well-trained in offering comprehensive billing and coding requirements along with assistance in finding loopholes in billing functions at your practice.


Category : Accounts Receivables / Claims Denials