Every medical facility has customers with overdue bills. The longer you take in collecting on these unpaid balances, the greater the chance you won’t get paid at all. While some medical offices opt to utilize the services of its back office staff to follow up on unpaid bills, they don’t have the right infrastructures and procedures to manage the collections process effectively. To expedite the process in retrieving overdue payments while avoiding legal action with existing customers, many medical offices contract collection agencies that have proven experience and trained staff.
However, not all collection agencies are alike. Among the 5,000 collection agencies in the United States, some handle consumer accounts while others deal with big businesses. Therefore, to get the best results, you need to identify the right medical collections agency that can address your specific requirements. Here’s some tips to guide you.
Don’t be lured by the reputation of a bigger agency that has recovered millions of dollars for different businesses. While impressive in their credentials, they may not be right for you. You want a debt collector that has proven results and tactics in collecting medical debt.
Familiar with health care terminology, insurance plans, and governmental regulations, a medical collections agency has worked with clinics, hospitals, medical offices, and even medical device manufacturers in billing. They know to address different scenarios such as medical plan denials and inappropriate coding in recovering money owed to you. Understanding how to maneuver through the red tape of healthcare insurance is a key component in resolving overdue payments.
Patient contact should be just one component of services. In addition to calling patients on outstanding invoices, collection agencies should bundle services such as self-pay customer services, accounts receivables collection, lockbox services, and insurance funds strategies to create a comprehensive strategy that increases your collection rates. One approach will not solve all situations, and customers often appreciate the assistance in settling bills instead of just demanding payment.
What kind of technology does the collections agency utilize in performing tasks while ensuring the security of your patient information? In addition to verifying patient contact information, technology should enable agencies to execute pre-scrubs that identify bankrupt and deceased patients in streamlining due diligence. Data mining capabilities should also allow the agency to segment a patient’s ability to pay. Today’s technology should extend beyond just streamlining operations to providing more intelligent support in settling the patient debt.
No one likes to get a call from a bill collector, especially one that threatens legal action before even listening to your end of the story. Working with patients to resolve billing disputes, explain statements, and determine appropriate repayment methods can go a long way in resolving an outstanding invoice.
Before you select a medical collections agency, get to know their standards, affiliations, and tactics. Are they compliant with important industry standards including PCI, FDCPA, and HIPAA? What is their protocol in contacting your clients? After all, you want to keep those patients. Many medical collection agencies report on their customer complaint rate, and these findings could be a key indicator for how they will treat your patients.
Bottom line, what will you pay? Review the fee structure as collection companies charge in different ways. Some have flat fees while others take a percentage of collected sums. Ensure you know what you are getting into when you sign a contract.
When selecting a medical collections agency, take into consideration referrals from your associates but also do your own investigation to ensure you contract the right source that has the technology, polished staff, and strategies to get you the best ROI.