Let’s face it, collecting patient payment can be difficult Sometimes, it can be a long, drawn out, and even uncomfortable process. But, there are steps you can take to significantly smooth and simplify the patient collection process. And we’ve put together some of the big wins.
Focus On Your Employees
Just as with any other business, your employees are the heart of the company. Training your employees is key in making the patient financial services collection easier. When training employees, it's critical to train them with the proper technical and social skills to handle financial collection. Your employees must be aware of the entire collection process including insurance coding, office payments, and patient billing. By not knowing the processes inside and out, employees will not be able to serve patients at the most efficient rate possible.
The ability to be sensitive towards patients is just as important as knowing the financial payments process. Payments, especially when a customer is dealing with an illness, is a very sensitive topic. You do not know what the patient’s situation is and perhaps finances are tight or they have been too preoccupied to pay the bills. Having your employees be very understanding will help the patient feel more comfortable to at least talk through their problems paying. By being insensitive, the patient may ignore your calls and emails and drag out the payment process even further.
Before taking a new patient, it is important to screen them for insurance eligibility. Make sure you are a participating provider for their insurance. Make sure that the patient understands all of your policies. They need to know when payments are expected, and have an understanding of anticipated costs. While there will always be some ambiguity, making expectations of payments for a variety of situations clear will make the payment collection process a lot more efficient.
Request Upfront Payments
Another method to make the patient financial services process easier on both the patient and the company is to request payments paid upfront. Receiving payments before a patient leaves the hospital or before an appointment will greatly increase the chances of receiving the payment and will also allow the patient to have one less thing to worry about.
While the patient collection process will never always be a simple and smooth process, there are many technique your company can take to make the process more successful. By training your employees to handle difficult situations and be as knowledgeable as possible, you can make the collection process easier. The key to an easy collection process lies on focusing on both your company and the patients. Working on building relationships and explicitly stating expectations will dramatically increase the amount and speed at which you will be paid from your customers.