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Healthcare Providers: How to Improve Patient Collections

Enhancing patient collections is one of the essential components of effective revenue cycle management. Unfortunately, medical payments have undergone a drastic change over the past few months due to the pandemic, and patients are becoming increasingly affected by the rising costs and expensive medical bills.

The burden of medical bill payment continues to fall on the patients. In turn, payments continue to fall on the patients. As a result, the healthcare providers must adjust their collections and reflect the new demands of the healthcare industry, especially when avoiding the medical cash flow target issues.

Patient copays make up about 20% of a doctor’s office revenue, but most medical practices only collect 60% of patient copays. Therefore, the fall down in collection rate and the expensive demands of preparing to meet meaningful use requirements would be a struggling issue for the practice.

Enhancing your patient payment collection must remain the top priority in the financial plan. You never want the practice to be at risk.

Manage patient volume

Patient volume is what makes the practice successful. In a pandemic, you must visit medical practices as the primary reason for lower patient volume. It doesn’t matter how you provide the best care to patients; if you can’t maintain a consistent number of patients, there’s a loss in revenue.

When the practice revenue continues to suffer, it’s more about improving the patient payment collections process that could help you maintain good cash flow. Identifying the areas which need comprehensive improvement in the collection methods allows you to proceed further.

Here, we’ll focus on ways to improve patient collections for your practice.

Patient contact and insurance information collection

If a patient calls the practice to make an appointment, the front desk office staff is responsible for collecting the complete patient information. This includes contact address and insurance details. Instead of directly focusing on making a note of patient information, it’s good to provide an option for the patient to email their complete details.

When using any patient portal software, you need to make sure they have the necessary fields to collect and update patient information. In addition, always ensure that the contact information is accurate and up-to-date during the patient’s visit.

Ensuring accurate patient records will allow staff to verify coverage and follow up with the patient throughout the treatment and patient collection processes. It is essential that you have all the necessary concerts to utilize electronic messaging via text and emails.

Patient Portal to collect payments

When you want patients to pay bills on time, it’s best to make the payment process easily accessible. For example, your patients pay online with a credit card. When you collect payment via patient portals, this will help you to make the collection process faster and help satisfy meaningful use.

Identify any outstanding balances are there

Before or during the time of care, verify the coverage with payers and clarify payer rules. This will help you to identify any changes that have occurred in any patient collection process, what portion of charges for the standard treatment gets covered and what patient is responsible for payment.

The right payment policy

The right way to collect patient balances is to require patients to cover co-payment during check-in time. You need to create a medical office payment policy to ensure patients are aware of the requirement. It’s best to include a patient responsibility agreement in the check-in paperwork for patients to sign.

The policy is to provide the patients and staff with clear guidelines about payment collections. You can always secure a patient messaging platform to send automated appointment reminders communicating what’s due at the time of services.

Seamless payment plans

Always payment plans can be better if the patient population is motivated to pay but can’t pay the whole bill upfront. With flexible payment options, it helps the practice increase payment collections and give patients peace of mind knowing they can pay for any treatment process.

You must consider offering payment plans to patients receiving larger bills. However, if you cannot pay the full amount, you need to train the staff on how to explain the options and track them properly. It also ensures whether the payment plans meet all state and federal guidelines.

Diverse payment options

You must increase patient collections by offering a variety of payment methods. These methods include cash, credit/debit card, or visual checks from their checking or savings account. In addition, a significant number of people are using smartphones in the U.S. Therefore, offering an easy-to-use and convenient online payment tool in the patient portal helps you improve patient collection.

Best medical billing software

Medical billing software helps you streamline the patient collections process by tracking the payment details, including past due details. This also covers past unpaid bills, automating late fees and identifying patients who are behind.

Purchasing billing software comes with a price tag. But moreover, it can be a cost-saving approach and boost the payment collections rate.

Medical billing and collections

There’s a constant change in the medical billing and collection sector. The value-based care programs, changing payer fee schedules, employee attrition, government regulations, lack of training and resources and high-deductible health plans are the factors causing practices to bring in less revenue.

It’s more about staying financially healthy in a challenging regulatory environment is no easy task. It requires knowing how to get paid for the services, i.e., handling claim denials and improving denial management and underpayments to follow up on outstanding payments.

To enhance profitability, practices must partner with the revenue cycle management team. It helps evaluate the current billing staff.

Benefits of the improved patient experience

When it’s about care, patients and front office staff member need to ensure ways to minimize perceived unpleasant tasks of discussing financial responsibilities. Administrative staff with automated estimation tools and training while setting provider-supported expectations makes them successful.

Increased patient satisfaction

Healthcare service providers have the opportunity at the beginning of any patient relationship to thoroughly educate patients and help them understand that they may have to pay a portion of their care.

Patient engagement allows both parties to discuss the details and options, leaving the patient with a more relaxed experience and virtually no surprise bills.

Enhanced revenue collection

The patient collection focuses on accurate automated estimation. It allows the provider to engage the patient early and collect the amounts due, leading to fewer AR days outstanding and far less abandoned or reduced revenue being sent to collections.

Reduced AR

Artificial Intelligence (AI) drives software and machine learning in the current dimension. It simplifies the burdensome administrative process, improving collections and reducing the after-the-fact collections efforts.

Better planning

With accurate information, there comes improved analytics. It helps create future business plans, project growth and expansion, and negotiate party contracts.

Final Wrap

You need to ensure not to distract yourself from patient care. Instead, you need to take the first step toward eliminating the challenges of uncompensated care. With a unified AI-enabled system, Vital Solutions offer an all-in-one platform to optimize the collection process.

The service provider will optimize their existing revenue cycle with innovative technology. This helps collect more with less stress. Your staff can now focus on what matters, i.e., the patients, communities and objectives.