Insured patient costs have increased 256 percent between 2004 and 2014 according to a survey in 2016 by The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation. Assist your patients and team to quickly obtain payment and successfully close accounts while boosting patient satisfaction and overall experience.
Know Thy Patient
This means to find out everything possible about the patient at the VERY front end of the revenue cycle. This includes their deductible amount, whether the patient has an HSA or other type of flex spending account and other factors that provide knowledge about the patient’s ability to pay. Integrating billing systems with your EHR can help staff to remind the patient when the payment is due.
Be a Retailer
Consider retail-centric principles to collect more money. An example of this is to have friendly, outgoing personalities at the first point of patient contact who are effective at asking for money (and will ask!). While 75% of medical businesses can provide a cost estimate at or before the time of service, only about 25% of patients requested one at their last visit based on 2017 survey results from HIMSS Analytics. Dental offices are great at deploying this method regardless if the patient asks and then setting a patient’s financial obligation before s/he receives the first patient balance statement.
Establish expectations for front desk staff to collect outstanding balances at the time of service. In fact, this is the first thing that should be done. Teaching with scripting or role playing techniques can make your handpicked front desk staff comfortable in this role.
The same survey also found that 79% of patients feel comfortable sharing their email address and receiving secure electronic notifications. This can save hundreds to thousands with a quick return on technology investment after incorporation of this method.
Multiple Payment Channels
- Obtain a deposit at the time of scheduling for large cost services and procedures.
- Invest in an add on application to estimate a patient’s ability to pay. For example, based on the result for Mrs. Smith, it’s determined of her $500.00 bill, she can only pay $200.00 right now. Obtain that payment and set the remainder on an automatic payment plan.
- Regarding payment plans: ensure your system notifies the appropriate parties when a payment is missed so follow up can be done right away. If the plan was not an automatic one, be sure to set one up now!
- Accept every credit card type possible. Regularly monitor credit card processing fees and solicit new bids to compare rates.
- Offer online payments: direct patients to a URL link, ability to make a mobile payment and or set up an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to handle callers via an automated telephone-payment system to make e-check, debit and credit card payments 24/7. Be sure to thoroughly test the system and how it responds prior to roll out!
- Have a Credit Card on File (CCOF) process. According to the same survey mentioned above, more than 78% of patients said they would provide their debit or credit card number to be charged one time up to $200.00 after an insurance payment was processed. This strategy alone can reap revenue and reduce the cost of collections.
- Collaborate with your team to develop additional convenient payment strategies.