Almost every medical practice is facing financial uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent report from Practice Pulse states that while any practice’s primary focus is on caring for patients and keeping their staff safe and healthy, providers have expressed growing concern over reduced practice collections and increased accounts receivables. In this blog, we will discuss several steps that providers can take now, and over the coming months, to help with patient collection outcomes and lower overall revenue risk. This revised accounts receivable strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic will surely help in improving the financial health of your practice.
Offer Payment Plans
As indicated above, many patients may not have the economic means to fully resolve their balances due to loss of employment or other financial issues. Offering payment plans is a first-line approach to establish a relationship with the patient and to demonstrate an appreciation of their individual circumstances. Building this trust now will help accelerate the resolution of their balances within the limits of their income, and as their situations improve. It is recommended that payment plans be secured with a credit card or bank account, and set on a recurring payment schedule. The Sooner you have a card or bank account on file, the more likely the patient balance will be paid. In addition, be cautious of making referrals to bad debt too quickly. As an elective process, it’s a consideration that will resonate with patients in both financial and social distress.
Some practices have indicated they are relaxing their offers of prompt-pay incentives to encourage patients to resolve open balances within 30 days. Some are also offering additional discounts later in the aging process. This is a good time to consider short-term plans in the interest of resolving more open account balances. In these challenging days, consider offering a significant discount on the patient portion of accounts. This will alleviate some of the patients’ financial burdens, and indicate your understanding of their particular situation.
Eligibility and Benefits Verification
In most of our blogs/articles, we emphasize the importance of the eligibility and benefits verification process. Properly executed eligibility and benefits verifications will ensure that you are collecting every single penny from insurance as well as from patients. Eligibility and benefits reports will highlight the need for patient liability. As your front-end team is well equipped with such reports, they can educate patients about services covered under their health plan and exact out-of-pocket amount. Well-informed patients will make better decisions reducing your missed appointments and more than 90 percent collection of co-payments and deductibles at the time of service. With properly done prior authorizations, you will receive quicker insurance reimbursements with less work to do on claim denials.
Have Empathy in Patient Communications
Every individual is under financial pressure and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the rise in national unemployment rates, now is a good time to review your patient communication strategy, and make sure your practice reflects sensitivity toward potential employment changes and fluctuating financial circumstances. During patient, communications acknowledge their stress and financial pressure and are more sensitive on collection topics. Ask your staff to listen more to patients and reply with a proactive, empathetic tone to let patients know there is sensitivity to their new difficulties. We will recommend changes to the frequency and tone of outbound patient calls to avoid excessive interactions and undue stress on patients. To further implement alternative communication pathways, consider using text messaging to communicate with patients. This will allow the patients to control more of the interaction, without feeling put on the spot. This leads to a heightened comfort level when discussing challenging financial situations.
MBC is a Professional, Customized, and Effective Accounts Receivable Strategy Management Solution.
This revised accounts receivable strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic will surely help in improving the financial health of your practice. If you don’t have the right manpower to handle accounts receivable functions then consider outsourcing them. Our accounts receivable services include denials management, appeals, insurance follow-up, old AR clean-up, and patient statements. To know more about our accounts receivable services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org / 888-357-3226