Here’s how you can make patient collections better in 2011:
- Do your homework upfront. Research patient balances before the patient arrives for his or her appointment and know what the patient owes. Then you are prepared to ask for payment at the time of visit. This is when the patient is the most motivated and when you will get the best result!
- Establish consistent financial policies. Clarify your expectations of staff and patients. This means the stakeholders agree on the policies and establish methods to support and enforce the policies.
- Provide tools and training. Part of supporting those policies is providing staff with the tools and training essential to do the job right. The billing department can train reception and scheduling staff on how to review and understand a patient’s account. Management can have in-services and role play to give staff the right words and confidence to ask for payment.
- Define responsibilities. If you want a committed staff that gets results it is important to clarify the processes involved in collections. Determine which staff members will perform those tasks. This includes who does what before the visit, at the time of the visit and following the visit.
- Establish and meet collection goals. Examine past performance when it comes to collecting at the time of service and set the bar higher. If you have typically collected an average of $1,000 a day from patients that owed $2,000 you have been collecting 50%. Why not set the goal 10% higher each month until you reach 80 or 90%? Then when you reach the goal thank your staff and celebrate your success.
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