Successful practices prosper because they do their job well. Providing high-quality services to patients with an exceptional staff is their focus. Practices like this usually don’t have trouble with acquiring new patients in because they are built on a solid reputation and skills. However, with growing patient responsibility from both larger deductibles and co-pays, they may have a hard type sustaining themselves if they don’t receive patient payments. Patient-responsible balances are steadily increasing — more patients owe more money. Receiving patient payment for services rendered is an elemental part of any practice and is what keeps it running. The challenge in today’s environment is how to actually get money owed paid to your practice without have to spend too money or staff time to do it.
Getting Paid Without Spending Too Much (Paper Statements, Manual Calling, Manual Payments)
The only way a practices can thrive is if they receive full payment for services they performed. Challenges occur when additional paper statements mailed to patients are ignored or set aside, to be buried under other mail.
How is a practice to push the “lazy payer” into paying their invoice?
- Having your staff try to call each patient over a small balance owed is not cost-effective.
- Sending extra paper statements is not working.
- Calling only the high-balance patients misses the mark.
- Calling only the very late patients (90 or even 120 days late) is also not effective.
Ensuring payment is received can end up costing practices a lot of money particularly if it is done the old-fashioned way through paper statements and manual calling. A billing system like this is expensive because it requires a number of staff members to get the job done.A person needs to be in place to not only take the initial information and payment, but also to input the remaining amount into a logging system, follow up with billing for another payment amount, and sending out the bill to the customer. Someone also needs to keep track of when the bill went out, if payment was received, adding the payment into the system and actually depositing payment, and following up if the entire amount was not paid. This system of billing also leaves a lot of room for something to go wrong. Mistakes are bound to happen when you have a lot of different people being relied on to get the statement printed, out the door, into a mailbox, and picked up by the right recipient. In the end, this type of billing system is quite costly. Through the evolution of technology, there are more options for businesses that can help alleviate the costs and complications of billing and receiving payment.
Automatic Billing Reminders and Automated Payments
The advancements in technology now provide practices with options to automate patient billing reminders and take in payments over the phone automatically so that outstanding bills can get paid quickly and easily. It basically works by having a patient contact list uploaded that shows the outstanding amount. This may be generated from a client list taken from an Accounts Receivable report or a file that is used by a statement vendor. With clients on the list to call, a recorded message can be set to call and remind clients about the amount due and invite them to pay with a credit card over the phone using an automated pay-by-phone system. Your staff is freed up to do more important and valuable work. Or, you can even setup an online payment portal that will allow your patients to pay online 24/7 — allows patients to pay their balance without ever having to interrupt your staff. Over 80% of patients today expect and demand an online payment portal. Why not your practice?