Running a healthcare center is both a service and a business. We know your patient's well-being is your priority. Your institution's financial well-being should be your priority too. Yes, you want your patient's health to improve, while you provide your best services. At the same time, you cannot afford to chase down patient bills and entertain delayed payments. Such inefficient practices will hurt your institution's financial health.
And if that happens, it is a downward spiral from there.
No matter how strict your payment policies are, there may be circumstances when payment collections hit a snag. What you require is a sound patient financing program that expedites your billing processes and boosts your revenue. And that's exactly what we intend to discuss in this topic. Below are eleven best practices that will put your patient payment collections back on track and secure your financial state. Let's take a look.
1. Have a well-defined financial policy
Do you have a well-structured and well-defined financial policy? If not, it is time to revamp it and make the changes to ensure full, prompt, and smooth payment collection. It is best to take expert advice and add the necessary clauses explaining who will pay the bill, how, and when.
2. Outsource your Revenue Cycle Management
Dealing with short-staffing or overworked staff? As patient volumes ebb and flow, you cannot afford to let your internal staffing challenges hinder your collections. When such issues arise, the most sensible thing to do is outsource your Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) to a quality vendor.
Front-End RCM solution providers like CoverMe, USA, can provide expert patient-eligibility verifications and coverage discoveries. CoverMe identifies patients who require financial assistance and help them qualify for the patient financing programs. A quality marketplace like CoverMe, will breakdown your billing collection hurdles and work with your patients to ensure prompt and full collections. Your patients will also benefit from our one-on-one solutions to ensure they don't feel the financial pressure.
Finding good and reliable vendors can be the tricky part here. Before signing up with your chosen vendor, make sure that they:
You should also obtain a contract that is easy to exit. You should be able to walk away without penalty if the vendor doesn't deliver within six months.
3. Invest in a good software
Having the right medical billing software for your practice is vital to increasing the reimbursements received from patients. The right software can help streamline your claims process so that unnecessary costs are not passed on to the patient.
4. Educate your staff
Hospital stay and healthcare expenses are not something that anyone wants. This is when your patients are mentally stressed with mounting bills and health-related uncertainties. As their healthcare provider, it is essential to build a professional environment that doesn't lack empathy and compassion, even when collecting your bills. All patients deserve courtesy and professionalism from your administrative staff. Your staff demonstrates a genuine understanding of the patient's financial situation and explains charges and payment plans in an empathizing manner. You must also train your employees on effective communication methods to ensure that your collections and positive patient relationships are not hurt.
5. Ensure price transparency
Create a consumer-friendly and transparent pricing system that improves your hospital's bottom line by accurately estimating patients' out-of-pocket costs. Patients become suspicious and hesitant when you refuse to offer the price transparency they are seeking. Such price discrepancies will make it much more difficult to collect patient payments. You can ensure price transparency by:
6. Ensure eligibility verification
Not all your patients will know and understand the nuances of their health insurance coverage and patient financing programs. Some of them may visit your institution hoping to receive services for which they are not eligible. As the service provider, you cannot and should not move forward with the process without verifying eligibility. Use eligibility verification and prior authorization tools to offer the right services and bill your patient. Additionally, before providing your services to new and old patients, have them sign a patient responsibility agreement. This will ensure that co-payments are received on time.
7. Collect payments on-time
Rather than waiting for the bill to go to collections, it is crucial to collect co-pays upfront to ensure the smooth running of the patient financing program. This is one of the most important practices that many medical organizations consider to be crucial to follow. There is no reason why you cannot establish a policy of collecting co-pays when patients check in at your facility. It is also a good idea to select someone from your staff who will be responsible for asking patients about their balance before they leave your office.
8. Adopt multiple payment forms
In terms of payment collection, be as generous as possible. It is important that your practice accepts all payment methods. Also, in this digital age, most patients expect to have several ways to pay. To be successful financially, make sure your administrative staff has the most tools available to capture patient payments. Ensure that both in-person and online payment options should be available. By offering online billing, you can increase the amount you collect from your patients.
9. Implement CCOF setup
Having CCOF or Credit Card on File set available will help your patients make timely payments. A CCOF setup is when a patient authorizes you to charge their credit card once their responsibility is assigned. Once patients sign the authorization form, you will receive the payment via the CCOF within the stipulated time.
However, if you are using CCOF, you should partner with a Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant hosting provider to ensure that patients' credit card details are encrypted and safe. All details should be password protected and compliant with PCI Data Security Standards.
The healthcare coverage environment is becoming increasingly complex. As you move towards value-based care (which is what all patients want), the billing process becomes a parameter to measure your patients' overall experience. Team with CoverMe, USA, to make this experience easy and hassle-free for your patients. Get in touch with us to know how we work.