Providers are recommended to write-off small balances as losses rather than investing time and money in retrieving the amount; however, patient payment lapses should not be a common occurrence for medical practices. If you want to get your account receivable in order, it has become important to collect existing balances. This has led to a boom in the debt collection process as physicians are assigning huge debt amounts to collectors.
Collection of pending payments is vital for the financial health of your practice and it should not be ignored. Since 2005, high-deductible plans have gone up from 1 million to 11 million and the average single plan deductible has become higher than $1,000. Compared to payers, collecting from patients can cost three to five times more to practices.
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Can practices avoid taking help from collection agencies?
- Your in-house staff (desk attendants) can boost your collection rate to a great extent as they are the first point of contact for patients. They should be given proper training on how to handle outstanding balances, communicate with patients and when to send reminder emails or make reminder calls to patients
- Providers can create an incentive program to encourage employees for payment collections. A reward can be set for each collections an employee brings in
- Practices must ensure that patients are getting options in payment methods. They should be allowed to pay by cash, debit/credit card, cheque or through an online payment portal
- A standard payment policy will have to be implemented and your patients should be informed about it. This will help in handling difficult payment discussions and make patients aware of the consequences for not paying
- There is a difference between reminding patients for payment and harassing them. From knowing when to call, how many times to call and how to remain persistent without being annoying are factors to be considered when collecting payments
Rise in medical collections has affected practices that are trying to stay financially viable. It has become essential for them to collect payment at the time of service, including co-pays, past-due charges and deductibles. This will not just save staff time but also reduce money spent on sending statements to patients.
At a time when healthcare reforms have increased work pressure on practices, very less time is left to balance coding, billing and payment collection tasks. Practices are therefore seeking assistance from medical billing companies to handle their AR requirements so that they are assured of timely payments while focusing on quality patient care.
Medicalbillersandcoders.com is the largest consortium of coders and billers who have been helping practices across the US put their account receivables in order. The expert team at MBC will not just minimize your administrative workload but also reduce the cost and time involved in hiring and training your staff for billing and payment collection services. Since you won’t have to micromanage the billing operations, there will be ample time for you to focus on patient care.