It's vital that medical practices - especially smaller one or two physician clinics - put procedures into place that guarantee both patients and insurance payers submit payments in a timely manner. Using these tips can ensure medical practices of all sizes have the revenue required to manage day-to-day operations.
1. Verify, Verify, Verify
Before the patient ever sets foot in the clinic, staff should verify insurance eligibility, coverage, deductibles and co-pay amounts. If this is done on the day of service or even after the patient has left the facility, the practice risks not getting paid for services rendered. Insurance eligibility can be done online, saving man hours making lengthy phone calls to providers. RevenueXL's EMR and Practice Management System provides integrated eligibility verification check in conjunction with Gateway, our preferred Clearinghouse solution.
2. Expectation Setting is Key
Collecting payments is often more successful if clinic staff advise patients of how much they will be required to pay before the day of the procedure or treatment. If patients are surprised by their portion of the cost at the time of service, it's unlikely the bill will be paid before the patient leaves the office.
According to Jim Akimchuk, vice president of revenue cycle services at the consulting firm Culbert Healthcare Solutions, making patients aware of their portion when they make the appointment or during appointment reminder calls or emails can be highly effective ways to ensure payment is made at time of service.
3. Get Payment in Person
Collecting co-payments, deductibles and past-due charges when the patient is physically present in clinic. This method keeps small balances between $20-50 off the books and lowers the costs associated with collecting accounts receivable. Medical practices can help staff do this by providing scripts on how to ask appropriately for payment. For example, front desk staff shouldn't ask, "Do you want to pay your bill today?" Instead, they should use one of the following more assertive questions:
"How would you like to pay your bill today?"
"We accept personal checks, cash and major credit cards. Which way will you be paying?"
"You have a balance of 'XXX' for services rendered on (this date). Would you like to put that on a credit card today?"
4. Submit Insurance Claims and Send Patient Bills Quickly
Generate charges and submit them electronically to the payer with 24 hours of the service. Use automated bill pay software to guarantee claims are submitted quickly and seamlessly. Additionally, automate patient billing processes so that invoices are sent within just a few days of providing service.
5. Make It Easy for Patients to Pay
Today, many people pay bills electronically or over the phone. Medical practices that don't provide this option are missing out on timely payment from patients who may be reluctant to write a check, buy a stamp and drop the envelope in the mail. Additionally, practices that charge a fee for paying by credit card are limiting the number of patients who will take this option. Give patients an easy way to pay by offering online or bill pay services via the telephone.
RevenueXL offers a variety of medical billing solutions that can ensure your practice gets paid in a timely manner. Contact us today to learn more.