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How to Improve Patient Collections

Buying with Credit Card in the Pharmacy.

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) reports that patient payments account for 25% of the revenue generated by healthcare practices. It is therefore imperative to take measures to improve patient collection procedures. In order to minimize losses in revenue, the collection methods must be streamlined to the highest possible efficiency levels.

Characteristics of an Effective Patient Payment Strategy
It is important to optimize patient collections. More employers are opting for high deductible plans to lower their monthly premiums, so healthcare facilities cannot choose to ignore the importance of proper billing strategies.

1) Offer Diverse Payment Options

Do not restrict the possible modes of payment your practice accepts. Most patients wish to pay through debit/credit cards. If patients prefer cash, then make sure the facility has an ATM available within easy reach of the payment desk. Be sure to accept:
· Cash
· Checks
· Debit/Credit Cards
· Payment through your patient portals
· Online Payments (via your website)

2) Provide Payment Plans

Payment plans can be a convenient option for patients; they enable payments in a set of installments. Proper documentation of the plan is necessary so ensure all the requisite forms and signatures are in place. Spell out details of the terms and conditions in clear language. Avoid payment plans which extend beyond six months.

3) Word Patient Statements Properly

Pay attention to how the patient statements are formatted, which information is included and what the instructions imply to the patient.
· Aging buckets (for example, 0-30 days, 31-60 days, 61-90 days) displayed on your patient statements can delay your payments because they serve as a reason for waiting.
· Send out weekly patient statements.
· The first statement sent out should display the message “Due Now”
· The next statement should read “Past Due”
· Send out a final notice or follow up with a phone call if no payment is received.

4) Have Policy Implementation Procedures in Place

Creation of a payment policy will not benefit you if the practice fails to implement it. Policy guidelines must be communicated to the patient in a timely manner. Try to encourage payment before service. Proper financial policies will help you avoid any patient confusion or payment discrepancies.

5) A Well-Trained Front Desk Staff

Your front desk staff has direct interaction with the patient. Making sure that the staff is familiar with the healthcare policies and payment procedures will increase patient collections. Hire staff that is knowledgeable about health insurance policies. Proper training when it comes to making collections, looking up patient payment history and resolving payment disputes is essential.