How to Increase Medical Practice Collection

Is your practice still struggling with collections? Here are some ideas to consider

Every business need money coming in. If those payments are consistently late, you could struggle to make payroll, pay rent, and buy supplies you need to keep the business running. Your healthcare practice is no different. Delayed payment can result in huge financial strain. Money on a balance sheet doesn’t do you any good unless it winds up in your business accounts.

The goal for practices and patients is to get bills paid before they go to collections agencies. But as medical bills climb, more and more statements end up there. In fact, more than half of all bills handled by collections agencies are medical. Once something goes into collections, it can delay payment for the provider and threaten the credit score of the patient.

So how can you ensure payments before they wind up in the hands of collections agencies? Here’s how to increase medical practice collection.

Provide multiple payment options

Everyone has experience with receiving bills by mail. And paying them that way is a process most people, especially older patients, trust. But it can take weeks to receive a payment in the mail. Plus, the envelopes used are usually untraceable, so if a patient says, “the bill’s in the mail,” you have no choice but to take their word for it, which could leave you short if the payment never comes.

Provide multiple payment optionsThat’s why most medical practitioners have online payment portal. More than 94 percent of them are used for medical practice collection. But they’re also used for scheduling appointments, communication between patients and doctors, accessing medical records, and more. When a payment portal uses a recognizable logo associated with the health system or doctor’s office, patients tend to trust it and love the convenience of paying through it. They allow faster payments that the practitioner can track without the patient having to buy stamps or drive to the post office.

Patients can access payment portals through a provider’s web site or a health-system wide app. Multiple ways to pay mean increased likelihood of on-time payment.

Include security measures

Another benefit of payment portals is security. Most portals include security options that keep payment details safer than standard mail or writing down credit card numbers over the phone. They’re usually password protected and include encryption features to safeguard protected information. That increased security engenders patient loyalty and encourages quicker payments.

Send reminders

One easy way to encourage on-time payment is to send multiple patient payment reminders via a variety of methods. Try following up on a mailed statement with an email or text message. Include a link to an online portal where a patient can log in and easily pay their bill. The more reminders you send leading up to the due date, the better your chances of on-time payment.

Encourage advance payment

One easy way to get a payment is to ask for it up-front. According to a 2016 white paper by the Healthcare Financial Management Association, more than half of healthcare organizations surveyed indicate they try to collect 100 percent of a patient’s financial responsibility in advance of a procedure.  Almost all offer a payment plan or other incentives to at least obtain a portion of what’s owed beforehand. Many organizations use a patient’s credit data to determine whether and how much payment is required up-front. For providers, this ensures timely healthcare payment collection. For the patient, it allows them to focus on recovery instead of healthcare bills.

Slash billing costs

Another way to minimize the effects of late payments on your practice is to reduce the cost of collecting debt. Going paperless can reduce the costs of collecting healthcare payment by 60 to 90 percent over traditional postage methods. When you spend less money collecting debt, you’re not as strapped if some payments take a bit longer to come in. Paperless billing can also reduce overdue bill time by up to 30 percent.

Paperless billing has other benefits, too. It reduces paper waste and is better for the environment. It’s estimated that if just 20 percent of American households switched to paperless billing, we could save up to 1,811,275 trees, a billion gallons of wastewater, and 100 million gallons of gas used for mailing.

Online billing options can help increase patient loyalty, too. You could offer incentives for patients to pay online, saving them money. Paperless billing also helps reduce clutter. And fewer bills laying around can reduce the risk of identity theft for your patients. After all, your online payment portal is password protected. A bill in an envelope isn’t.

Online billing options can help increase patient loyaltyFaster bill payment benefits your practice by increasing your cash flow. It also benefits your patients by protecting their information, reducing their risks of identity theft, saving them money, and taking a trip to the post office off their to-do list. Eco conscious patients love that online bill pay options are better for the environment, too.

Want to discuss ways to increase your healthcare patient bill collections? Contact us today.



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