Improving Your Practice’s Front Desk Collections

Timely collection of patient payments is equally important as collecting insurance reimbursements. In the past few years as more and more patients are adopting High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs), patient responsibility has increased exponentially. The most reliable source of patient collections is when they are in the office. So, up-front collection of patient payments at the time of visit becomes crucial, emphasizing the increased importance of the front desk team in revenue cycle management (RCM). Practices faces challenges like they are understaffing, lack of insurance coverage report, patients are not aware of their payment responsibility, and many other. In this article, we will discuss improving your practice’s front desk collections while efficiently managing front desk challenges.

Improving Your Practice’s Front Desk Collections

Upfront Patient Payments Collections

Collect a patient co-pay, unpaid deductibles, and past-due balances in the office, at the time of the visit only. It becomes really difficult to collect patient responsibility once they leave the clinic. If the patients are unable to pay at the time of service then request them how they would like to pay. Proper training of front desk staff is critical to accomplishing this goal. You have to maintain a fine balance between collecting payments and patient satisfaction. Train them with sample scripts on how to ask for payments politely, so your front desk staff is prepared to have the conversation. Whether it is on the phone while collecting patient information or at the time of service, asking for payment and making the patient aware of their financial responsibility is critical. It’s always beneficial to post your policies on your website or social media account to set expectations.

Keeping Credit Card on File

In some cases, it may make more sense to bill patients at the end of their visit, as delivered services/ procedures might differ from what was originally scheduled. Having a credit card on file can help in collecting complete payments from patients in this type of situation. Most practices call this a Credit Card on File Program (CCOF) where practices look to collect patient portions with patients’ consent. Before collecting patients’ credit card information, you have to take their consent and explain the payment plan. Clearly communicate that you will deduct a set amount from their credit card on a given date each month until their balance is paid in full. Offering a credit card option is going to increase patient collections and lower your recovery costs.

Keep Updated Insurance Records

Keep your existing patients’ insurance data updated and for new patients, get this data well in advance. Otherwise, it becomes more difficult to keep track of which patients are responsible for co-payments, and how much is due at the time of their visit. It’s important to get your front desk staff into the habit of asking whether the insurance information on file is still valid, in addition to requiring new insurance forms to be filled out on a yearly basis. By putting such procedures into place, your practice can efficiently manage co-payment collections on a daily basis.

Eligibility and Benefits Verification

Eligibility and benefits verification is the preliminary and most important process of medical billing. With the eligibility and benefits report, you will be aware of the insurance coverage report, co-payments, unpaid deductibles, prior authorization requirements, and remaining benefits. It’s advisable to conduct eligibility and benefits checks, at least 1-2 days prior to patient visits. In the case of non-covered services, you can communicate with patients and if available ask for updated or secondary insurance details.

Activities 3 Days in Advance

Front-desk staff should review the accounts receivable for each scheduled patient 3 days before the patient’s appointment. Patients with balances that are still outstanding should be given reminder calls or emails about the amount owed. Have a system in place so that when the patient calls, the staff member can remind the patient about the outstanding balance. Patients who have larger balances due and those who have long-standing balances should be asked to deal with these accounts to keep their appointments.

Improving your practice’s front desk collections is possible with systematic tasks and a well-trained team. We can assist you if you are struggling to collect patient portions. We can share patient coverage reports along with co-pay, unpaid deductibles, and prior authorization requirements if any. Medical Billers and Coders (MBC) is a leading medical billing company providing complete revenue cycle services. To know how we can assist you in improving your practice’s front desk collections and our complete medical billing and coding services, email us at: or call us at: 888-357-3226.