Are there consistent errors within your medical accounts receivable management processes that are restricting your organization’s cash flow? There are a few common problems that plague healthcare providers that can be avoided in a few simple steps.
Do you treat minor patients? Understanding your rights as a creditor and what you can and cannot do to collect a debt owed to your practice is already difficult, but when working with minor patients it can become even more so. One of our most frequently asked questions is:
“A patient received care as a minor and was under their parents’ care. If the patient is now of legal age and the parents still have not paid the bill, can we attempt to collect from the patient?”
Originally published in the September/October 2016 Issue of The PAHCOM Journal - www.PAHCOM.com
The culture you create within your office has a direct impact on how well your team is able to collect money, and it all starts at the top. It is up to the leadership within your practice to set the culture, and to hire and empower a team to sustain it. An emotionally engaged workforce leads to an emotionally engaged patient, which contributes to organizational success.
Over the summer the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released an outline of proposals for much stricter debt collection regulations. The proposed rulemaking was announced in conjunction with the publication of a “Study of Third-Party Debt Collection Operations” report, which analyzed survey data from agencies regarding the operational costs of debt collection.
It may seem like making a commitment to caring for patients is fundamentally at odds with hiring an agency to collect money from them, but that could not be further from the truth. While your medical practice is in the business of providing care, it is still a business, and needs to be profitable in order to continue to provide the highest quality care for your patients.
There are a few simple and common mistakes patient account representatives can make when attempting to collect payment for services rendered that can have a significant affect on your practice's revenue. See our Common Mistakes infographic to identify four of the most common mistakes in patient collections, and for tips on how to avoid them.
When you applied for your current position, did you answer an ad stating, “Seeking representative to collect past due balances from patients”? Probably not. Healthcare professionals generally enter the profession to help people, not to collect money from them. But the business of healthcare is just that, a business, and maintaining your accounts receivables is critical to your organization’s ability to provide quality care.
It’s a busy afternoon and the practice’s front desk is understaffed, again. After several minutes and a rush of registrations the last patient to walk in finally approaches the counter. Despite the rush of patients the front desk representative offers a friendly greeting, confirms her general demographic and insurance information, and confirms that she does not owe a co-pay. The rep also notices that the patient has a high outstanding balance and a $5,000 deductible that she has not met yet. The practice’s financial policy states that high deductible health plan patients with a high balance must establish a payment plan in order to receive care, but she is already running late for her time slot so the rep lets her know that following her appointment she will need to meet with a patient account representative to establish one.
There have been many changes over the past year that affect your practice. The changes in the healthcare industry are also affecting your patients' ability to pay, and your patient representatives are likely experiencing different objections and excuses than in the past. Based on the number of views on our training videos for overcoming patient objections and excuses, we've rounded up the top eight you have heard in 2015. (If only all patients were this cuddly!)