3 tips to tighten your patient collection process

Talking to patients about their financial responsibilities can improve payment trends
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By Matt Kuhrt

Practices that want to increase their revenue efficiency might want to look into patient collection trends that offer opportunities above and beyond the usual belt-tightening expense controls, according to an article in Medical Economics.

Even though more patients have insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, many practices have found that the high deductibles associated with many patients' plans mean patients end up with bills they can't pay. To address this growing problems, many practices try to collect payments at the point of service, rather than risk losing revenue later in the billing cycle, FiercePracticeManagement previously reported.

Medical Economics also offers the following suggestions to help make that process easier:

Talk to patients about finances. Physicians and their staff members have been reticent to discuss financial matters with patients in the past, but open communication can be the first step toward better collection metrics, according to the article. If patients don't know their responsibilities in the first place, it's that much more difficult to hold them to them later. 

Collect good information and assess it regularly. It's impossible to track improvements in the time it takes to collect payments or to identify targets for improved efficiency if you don't have a good baseline. For this reason, the article recommends that you get updated information about patient demographics and their insurance plans, in order to ensure the right information gets sent to the right place at the right time.

Be realistic about what you can ultimately collect. Collecting payment in full from every patient is ideal, but impractical, according to the article. A more reasonable benchmark is collecting between 85 and 95 percent of patient payments.

To learn more:
- read the story

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