Patient payment collection on copays and deductibles is a vital step that contributes to a large share of your reimbursement. Avoid these common mistakes.
Patient responsibility for the out-of-pocket costs of medical care has risen steadily in recent years. According to the Healthcare Business Management Association, patient payments to providers increased by 193% between 2011 and 2014.
This means that effective payment collection is more important than ever for medical professionals. But, collecting payments from patients can sometimes be a complicated process. The wrong mistake could cost you a lot of money.
Read on to find out which patient payment collection mistakes your practice should avoid.
The Most Common Patient Payment Collection Mistakes to Avoid
Collecting payments from your patients isn’t always an easy task.
Med Data reports that it costs four times as much to collect from an individual than to collect from an insurance company. Plus, 73% of providers claim that it takes one month or longer to collect patient payments.
A mistake when collecting payment can reduce your chances of receiving reimbursement from patients. If you know the mistakes to watch out for, you’re more likely to avoid taking risks that could cost your medical practice.
Beware of these common patient payment collection mistakes.
1. Limited Payment Options
If your practice only allows payment via cash or check, it’s time to update your system.
Today, many people use plastic to pay for everything. Sometimes, patients may not have the cash-on-hand to pay their co-pay or deductible. However, they might have the funds available on a Mastercard or Visa line of credit.
If you only accept cash or checks, you are likely slighting your medical practice of profits. Increasing possible payment options almost always results in increased reimbursements for providers.
2. Inaccurate or Incomplete Patient Information
From the moment an appointment is scheduled, patient data is collected. This means that there is the potential of collecting inaccurate or incomplete data.
It’s crucial that every employee know the importance of collecting and recording accurate data. Without accurate patient records, mistakes are inevitable.
One slip-up in any department could add time and money to the payment collection process. From incorrect contact information to outdated insurance, every piece of inaccurate data matters. Plus, it can create an obstacle to receiving payments in the future.
It’s a good idea to have patients review their information for accuracy every time they visit your office. This will help ensure that you receive patient info updates in a timely manner. And it reduces having bills returned to the office due to an incorrect address.
3. Subpar Customer Service
There are patients who will simply refuse to pay due to sub-par customer service. If your staff members are short, rude, or cause confusion for your patients, you risk the loss of profits.
All of your staff members should have excellent customer service skills. Additionally, your staff should be trained in conflict resolution and how to deal with difficult customers.
Sometimes the receptionist’s tone of voice or the assistant’s attitude can make all the difference in collecting payment from a patient.
4. Lack of Staff Training
Besides customer service skills, your staff should also be trained in collecting, recording, and entering data correctly into your system.
If you require certain documents or forms for patients, make sure that there are checkpoints to ensure that a patient’s file is complete.
Upon check-out, have patients verify their contact and payment information. This should be done at every appointment, even if the patient has been seen by your office for years.
Remember, a patient’s information can change at any given time and it isn’t unusual for them to forget to update their records.
5. Efficient Software Systems
Finally, you want to be sure that you are not relying on outdated software systems to keep up with today’s patients.
The most efficient medical practices are those that have modern, updated systems to integrate patient data and records. The right system not only collects and stores data but allows you to use it for the future success of your practice, as well.
The system that you are using can oftentimes directly reflect your office’s organization level. And it often reflects the level of satisfaction felt by your customers, too.
In today’s world of competitive, affordable software, there is no excuse for using a system that isn’t compatible with your needs or isn’t up to date with modern technology.
Want an All-In-One Solution?
Patient payment collection can be overwhelming, especially for small businesses. If you struggle to stay on top of collecting payments from patients, there is an all-in-one solution that can help.
Many medical practices rely on a professional medical coding and billing system. This allows private clinics to focus their time and energy on serving their patients. And it ensures that payments and records stay up to date at all times.
Keeping up with today’s technological system updates can be another hurdle for your office management staff. Often, the staff of a small medical practice must wear more than one hat. Instead of making their job even more difficult, why not hand off payment collection to the pros?
Interested in learning more about medical billing and coding software systems that can make your job a lot easier?
The SAVI Group combines accuracy, speed and platinum client services to healthcare providers.
Our all-in-one medical coding, billing, and payment processes help you to operate an efficient and professional medical practice. And the SAVI Group takes care of all of the mind-boggling details so that staff members can focus on patient service and retention.
Our services help healthcare providers all over Southern California.
Want to find out how we can help your practice, too?
Contact the SAVI Group today!