Five Things to Know About Revenue Cycle Management (RCM)
A recent industry survey of physicians showed that their #1 priority was running a more...
In an industry that increasingly relies on patient payments, healthy patient collection processes and communications are essential. The mass adoption of High Deductible Health Plans has providers depending less on payments from insurance providers and more on payments directly from their patients. Families opt for high deductible plans with the expectation that they will not end up needing much medical care that year. The reality is that one can never predict how much medical attention they might need, causing millions of Americans to face unexpected medical costs. For providers, this means relying more heavily on patient payments to fuel their bottom line.
The key to increasing the number of patient payments you receive is to give special attention to your practice’s patient collections process. There are several kinds of tools available that can help you communicate effectively so you can collect those outstanding payments.
Integrated technology is essential for improving patient collection communications. The patient portal has become the number one tool for increasing patient engagement and helping individuals gain more perspective about their medical care. Now, providers can integrate their patient portal technology with their billing technology. The patient portal is now the number one spot patients can go to understand the breakdown of their medical costs, make payments, and ask questions about their bills. Increasing access to billing information is an important part of a healthy patient collections process.
A significant aspect of helping your patients understand and pay their medical bills is to prepare them for the cost. Price transparency tools are helping providers advise patients of the cost of their care in advance. Now, providers can easily give patient’s estimates on what the cost of their care will be for any relevant service. This not only helps the patient plan for the expense, but it helps them make important decisions regarding their care. Together, the patient and provider can decide the best route to take that will benefit everyone involved. The more prepared a patient is to pay their medical bill, the less time the provider will have to spend chasing down payment.
Often, patient payments end up in collections because the patient’s insurance provider did not cover the services rendered. Providers now can automatically verify patient coverage prior to the rendering of services. This is a powerful tool for reducing the number of payments that end up in collections and improving the patient collection process. Once a patient’s coverage is verified, providers have peace of mind knowing they will be paid for the services they are providing. And if the service isn’t covered, that’s a conversation your front office team or billing specialists can have with the patient before the service, so that other options can be considered like payment plans. With automated insurance verification, your practice can bypass the “uncovered services” payment delay issue entirely.
Another way to improve your collections process is to offer a variety of payment methods to patients. Providers should have easy and accessible payment options that make it convenient for patients to pay their bills. Payment options should include online, 24/7 payment processing, payment at check-in, and other traditional payment options.
To learn more about how your practice can improve your patient collections process, click here.