How to Improve Patient Collections? 5 Proven Ways
 Revenue Cycle Management

How to Improve Patient Collections? 5 Proven Ways

Susan Collins
Susan Collins
July 19, 2023
Last updated on:

July 19, 2023

|

Read time: 5 mins

Patient collection, also known as patient financial responsibility or patient payment collection, refers to the process of collecting payments from patients for healthcare services received. It plays an important role in the financial stability and sustainability of healthcare organizations. 

However, patient collection can be challenging for healthcare organizations. This is primarily because patients often have varying levels of understanding regarding their insurance coverage and financial responsibilities, leading to confusion and potential resistance to making payments. Moreover, the sensitivity surrounding financial discussions can make patient collection emotionally draining. 

In this blog, we will delve into five proven ways that will revolutionize your approach to patient collections.

Why would an overpayment be made in medical billing?

An overpayment in medical billing can occur due to errors, duplicate payments, or incorrect reimbursement calculations, leading to an excess amount paid to the healthcare provider.
To learn more about overpayment, read our blog‘What is Overpayment in Medical Billing and How to Recover it?’

According to the Medical Group Management Association, medical organizations declared their time in Accounts Receivable increased in 2022.

Significance of Effective Patient Collections in Healthcare
Image 1 - Significance of Effective Patient Collections in Healthcare

Strategies to Improve Patient Collections

1. Streamline Billing Processes

  • Standardize billing procedures: Establish a clear and consistent billing process across your organization to minimize confusion and errors. Develop a standardized template for invoices and statements.
  • Improve coding accuracy: Train your staff on accurate coding and documentation practices to reduce billing errors and claim rejections. Regularly update your coding practices to comply with the latest guidelines.
  • Efficient claims submission: Utilize electronic claims submission to expedite the reimbursement process. Electronic claims are processed faster and have a lower chance of errors compared to manual submission.
  • Timely claim follow-up: Implement a system for tracking unpaid claims and follow up on them promptly. Following up ensures that any issues or denials can be addressed promptly.

2. Implement Clear and Transparent Pricing

  • Publish a price list: Create a comprehensive list of common procedures and services that patients can access easily. This transparency helps patients understand the cost of their care upfront and avoids surprises.
  • Educate patients on costs: Train your staff to proactively communicate with patients about the potential costs associated with their treatment. Training includes discussing insurance coverage, co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Provide estimates: Offer patients cost estimates for their procedures or treatments beforehand. Estimates allow them to plan and make informed decisions regarding their healthcare expenses.
  • Clarify billing statements: Ensure that billing statements are easy to understand and provide detailed information about the services rendered and associated costs. Itemize charges and explain any codes or abbreviations used.

3. Offer Flexible Payment Options

  • Installment plans: Implement payment plans that allow patients to spread their healthcare expenses over a defined period. Set up automatic payments or send reminders to ensure timely payments.
  • Credit card processing: Accept payments through credit and debit cards to provide convenience to patients. Offer secure online payment options to make it easier for patients to settle their bills.
  • Patient financing: Collaborate with third-party financing companies that specialize in healthcare financing. Financing enables patients to apply for loans or credit, specifically for medical expenses.
  • Discount for upfront payment: Encourage patients to pay in full by offering a discount or incentive. Discounts can motivate patients to settle their bills promptly.
5 Flexible Payment Options for Healthcare Collections
Image 2 - 5 Flexible Payment Options for Healthcare Collections

4. Enhance Communication with Patients

  • Pre-visit communication: Before appointments or procedures, communicate with patients to remind them about their financial responsibilities, insurance information, and any necessary paperwork.
  • Patient education: Educate patients about insurance coverage, co-pays, and deductibles. Provide written materials or online resources that explain common billing terms and processes.
  • Clear payment expectations: Set clear expectations regarding payment due dates and consequences for late or non-payment. Expectations can be communicated through signage, brochures, or during patient interactions.

5. Utilize Technology and Automation

  • Electronic health records (EHR): Implement an EHR system that integrates with billing processes to streamline documentation and billing. EHRs reduce manual errors and enhance efficiency.
  • Online patient portals: Provide patients with secure online portals where they can access their billing statements, make payments, and communicate with your organization. This self-service option improves convenience and reduces administrative workload.
  • Automated payment reminders: Utilize automated systems to send payment reminders via email, text messages, or phone calls. It reduces the chances of missed or late payments.
  • Electronic payment processing: Implement electronic payment systems that allow patients to make payments online or through mobile applications. It simplifies the payment process and improves collection rates.

Conclusion

Improving patient collections is critical to running a successful healthcare practice. The complex nature of the healthcare billing landscape, changing regulations, and the need for specialized expertise can make the task overwhelming for in-house teams. Partnering with a specialized third-party provider can significantly improve patient collection outcomes.

Invensis brings over two decades of experience providing healthcare businesses with tailored medical accounts receivable services to clients based in the US. Our expertise and proven strategies have helped our clients streamline their patient collections process, ensuring timely and accurate payments. Contact us today to learn how our proven strategies can revolutionize patient collection efforts.

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