Getting patients to pay their bills in full is a never-ending challenge for most healthcare organizations. Patients can be hard to track down and don’t like shelling out money after they’ve already received the services they needed.
But you know bills go unpaid for many reasons, and those reasons are rarely malicious. Instead, as healthcare costs increase, many patients can’t afford to pay their bills – especially for emergency department visits or unexpected treatments.
Since patient financial responsibility is on the rise and payors cover fewer procedures, collecting payment in full is imperative for your facility.
When patient responsibility was only a small percentage of the total cost, it was feasible for hospitals to write the losses off.
Now, patients can be responsible for up to 20% of their payments, and writing all those fees off is a quick path to bankruptcy for your organization, said Healthcare Finance News.
Luckily, new revenue cycle management processes are cropping up to provide guidance and improve collections. Most of those processes are inspired by the billing procedures used by telehealth delivery models.
Collections and convenience
The major key to improving collections is to make it easier for patients to pay their bills as soon as possible.
Emphasizing consumer-oriented billing and care encourages patients to settle their balances quickly. To get started, consider asking patients what works best for them.
Do they prefer paying via a patient portal or would they rather get a text message reminding them about their bill and providing a quick link to the payment site?
Figuring out what methods of delivery patients prefer eases some of the obstacles they may face when making payments.
Another option? Requesting payment up front, sometimes even in the treatment room. Even if patients aren’t sure payors will cover the service, patients will usually just pay the bill anyway because it’s easier.
Many facilities are also finding success with collections by offering recurring payments. You’d need a credit card on file for patients who choose this option, but it ensures you’re always getting the payments you’re owed.
Plus, the lag time for recurring payments is significantly shorter than receiving checks by mail or having patients pay the next time they come to your hospital, which can speed up payment processing.
If possible, you’ll also want to think about accepting a wider variety of payments, such as Apple Pay or Venmo.
Streamlining the process is the key to improving collections at any healthcare facility, so focus on simplifying payment systems to help patients and get paid.
Izvor: Healthcare Business & Technology, http://www.healthcarebusinesstech.com,