Elizabeth Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC, one of the nation’s top experts in medical billing and collections, recently shared her seven recommendations to maximize patient collection performance during a ZirMed webinar. From enacting more effective policies to tips on holding patients accountable for their financial responsibility, Elizabeth’s seven strategies can help providers get the payments they are owed by patients for services rendered.
Strategy 1 – Price Transparency – Provide price estimates for patients that estimate not only the range of costs but also incorporates a “discount” for patients with contracted insurance. Providers can also benefit from the adoption of automated price estimation tools that provide accurate written estimates for the patient.
Strategy 2 – Collect Balances – Ask patients to pay balances upfront. Try to collect first before offering a payment plan. If a payment plan is the only option for the patient, ask how long they will need to pay the balance, incorporate a minimum payment and set the plan accordingly.
Strategy 3 – Execute a Payment Plan – Collect smaller residual amounts by adding them to the first payment in a payment plan. Remember it’s not a payment plan unless the patient pays something down on the plan to kick it off.
Strategy 4 – Deploy a CCOF Program – A credit card on file (CCOF) program can increase collections and make it easy for patients to pay. Ensure secure collection and storage of credit card data and partner with a trusted vendor.
Strategy 5 – Avoid Bad Debt – Perform Medicaid sweeps for those patients without coverage to see if coverage can be found. Monitor compliance and transfer aging balances to internal or outsourced Collections.
Strategy 6 – Redesign Statements – Place the due date on statements. Send statements twice per month to match the frequency that patients are typically paid by their employers. If you don’t already have a portal for patients to pay online, consider this option and go paperless.
Strategy 7 – Focus on Reporting – Do analyses to determine where issues lie. Consider these categories of AR:
- Payment Plans – AR you have agreed to let age
- Time of Service Collections – Area where you could have collected but didn’t. Determine why collections are not being handled at the time of service.
- All other – True patient responsibility after insurance