It’s no secret that unpaid bills are a major problem for the medical industry. Collectively, more than forty billion dollars of medical bills are unpaid in the US alone, and estimates are that at least 20% of the public has unpaid medical services on their credit record. Getting paid is a big problem for many medical clinics!
Anything you can do to inspire and encourage prompt payment from your patients is going to be a big help to your bottom line. Particularly considering that the longer those bills go unpaid, the less likely it is that they’ll ever be paid. Here are some of the methods we suggest healthcare operations use to improve their own payment numbers.
Don’t leave it entirely to patients to know their insurance plans and out-of- pocket. Many of them are bewildered by insurance systems, and all the regulatory changes in recent years have only made things more confusing. Help patients understand what their costs will be, so they don’t risk “sticker shock” after major procedures.
Customer service matters! Your front desk workers should be as friendly, welcoming, and personable as possible. They have a huge influence over patient perceptions of your operation, and that can easily translate to bigger payouts. Likewise, train your front desk staff to help patients understand payment systems and find the best option for their needs.
Many clinics have begun adopting a practice of calling patients a few days before an appointment, particularly for a new procedure, to discuss payment systems and options. This sets expectations on both sides. The patient knows what’s going to be happening, and you can get the details on how they’ll be paying.
Simply put, try to avoid sending an account to collections if possible. If you can get the patient to agree to even small payments per month, that’s some money in your pocket. Once it goes to a collections agency, you’ll probably be getting pennies on the dollar – if that.
At ProMD, we specialize in helping clinics improve revenues and reduce costs. Contact us to learn more!