Missing or late patient payments is one of the biggest problems facing medical practices today. The disconnect between providing treatment and receiving payment may happen for a variety of reasons, either on the side of the healthcare provider or the patient themselves. Although healthcare providers can only do so much to ensure a patient ultimately pays his or her medical bill, making internal improvements to medical billing practices can help increase the rate of on-time payments. Here are 3 medical billing best practices your facility can use to boost patient payments:
Focus on Point-of-Service Collections
Requiring payment in-office directly after providing a patient with treatment seems like a straightforward concept, but a recent study by Availity found that many providers collect only a small amount of patient fees at point-of-service. The study reported that physician practices collected only 35% of patient fees and hospitals collected only 19% of patient fees at or before service. These providers overwhelmingly agreed that it becomes increasingly difficult to collect payment later after treatment has been given.
There are a few reasons that point-of-service payments may not be collected. At many facilities, front office staff waits until after a patient is seen to collect co-pays or other required payments. In addition, busy office staff often get sidetracked and don’t see a patient walk out of the office without paying.
If your facility has a low rate of on-time payments, put priority on collecting payments at point-of-service. Train your administrative staff to require that all patients pay their copay as they sign-in on the day of service. Have your staff follow up with any patients who do not or cannot pay in-office. Enforcing at least partial payment for the treatment immediately following service is another key method to increasing patient accountability and receiving more on-time payments.
Train your staff to be wary of and identify “dead beat” patients who will never end up paying their bills. Although clients may receive one or two collection letters, many patients are aware that pursuing legal action is too costly for the collection agency and intend on ignoring all warnings. Your staff should closely follow up with these kinds of patients and offer a variety of solutions to try and encourage payment.
Communicate with Patients Proactively
With medical bills and the amount of out-of-pocket patient payments increasing over the years, paying medical bills can be an overwhelming and confusing process for many patients. For a higher frequency of on-time payments, your administrative and billing staff should not simply hand patients a bill and send them on their way. Have your billing staff sit down with a patient and explain their charges, as well as review the available payment options. Many patients simply do not understand their bill or how best to pay, and opening direct communication can mean all the difference between an on-time payment and a drawn-out collections battle.
Keep Accurate Records
Some hospitals that suffer from high rates of late patient payments do not have good record-keeping practices in place. Your administrative staff should keep track of how much each patient pays and how often. Without up-to-date records, your administrative staff may not even know a patient is behind on payment or that a bill has been paid in full. If you’ve noticed multiple billing errors and/or past due payments, try giving your record-keeping an update.
Improve Your Medical Billing Processes With ECLAT
ECLAT Health Solutions, a health services support provider, can drastically help you increase your rate of on-time payments with our medical billing services. No Billing service meets with you face-to-face to walk you through your billing issues. ECLAT does.
Not only do our billing experts process your claims, but we work to identify and remedy any errors in your billing processes.
Our billers have at least 10 years of experience and are trained to comply with all HIPAA and HITECH, CMS guidelines, and In-Network, Out-of-Network regulations. We are EHR-friendly, meaning we are versatile to work on any EHR and keep meticulous records of your payment records to ensure you can easily keep track of your various patients’ payments. With ECLAT, you will start to see increased revenue quickly, with a 15-day turnaround time.
Our Eligibility & Benefits Verification process helps your patients understand their bills and their payment options to increase patient accountability. We understand that one size does not fit all, which is why we offer customized billing options and services for our clients and their patients. We work as an extension of your practice, providing you with secure and accurate medical billing so you can focus on what you do best: provide quality healthcare.