We all love watching fireworks on the 4th fourth of July as the bright lights and vibrant colors explode in the sky.
But, did you know that practice payment processes can inspire the same reverie? All it takes is a few simple steps – or “sparks” – to create a big bang for your practice. The good news is, you don’t need exploding pyrotechnics to simplify your payment process to make a big impact with higher patient and team satisfaction, reduced costs and accelerated cash flow.
Using these four simple steps to spark new energy into your payment process and invigorate your collections efforts, your practice can celebrate greater revenue cycle independence this summer.
1. Estimate patient responsibility at check-in. This is where an automated price estimation tool comes in handy, helping you understand the allowable for all your procedure codes you commonly perform, combined with the reimbursement history by payer for those procedures. From there, staff has the information needed to collect estimated payments up front as patients come in for their appointment.
2. Train staff in effective time-of-service collections. Front-office teams may need guidance when it comes to asking for payment. Start with revising the question “Would you like to pay today?” to “How would you like to take care of your balance/copayment today?”
Give team members scripts and outlines for handling different situations and help them practice using these tools to build their confidence and make the conversation more natural.
3. Collect everything that’s owed. Make it standard procedure to collect all patient payments when the patient visits your practice. This includes all copayments, due balances, deposits, coinsurances, and unmet deductibles at the time of service. Then provide options for patients who need more time, or have large balances, automated payment plans or credit-card-on-file tools.
4. Collect deposits from uninsured patients. One approach: Ask for a pre-determined minimum deposit that equates to the average level of copayment that would be due by a commercially insured patient for the same procedure. You may also consider charging different deposits for patients who are new versus a legacy patient.
Hopefully these tips have ignited some ideas of your own for improving payment processes. For even more inspiration, check out our white paper: Seven Steps to Improve Your Practice’s Revenue Cycle Management for additional ideas on how to simplify the payment process.