The medical landscape is both full of potential and some nail-biting uncertainty. From a strict research and medical advancement point of view, things are still looking very good for medical care. New discoveries in both treatments and technologies continue to expand the scope of illnesses and disorders that can now be addressed.
However, the price of medical treatment continues to rise with the complexity of the treatments, and the way forward to payment continues to be fraught with unknowns. As the government continues to wrestle with what to do about the Affordable Care Act and how to modify, repeal or replace it, this brings many unknowns for both healthcare providers and the patients who want to be treated.
That’s why when it comes to the delicate process of collecting payments, every little bit helps, and we’ve got a few tips for you to try.
Try To Make It Easy
Of course, many patients will use a form of insurance, whether their own or as a benefit of their employment. But some patients may want to use cash, either in physical form or with the use of some kind of debit card. Others will want to write checks or use a credit card, and some may even want to use a digital method, such as PayPal if they can.
If you can accommodate a wide range of different payment methods, you can potentially circumvent awkward situations where you could have easily collected payment from a patient, but didn’t have the ability to accept that payment in the way the patient wanted.
Some patients may be able to make payments, but not necessarily in the amounts or timeframes that are standardized. You can head off collection problems by exercising a bit more flexibility in how your payment amounts and schedules are handled.
Analytics can be a valuable tool in formulating payment possibilities and collection plans. But it’s also important to work with the patient on goals you can both agree on.
Adopt Some Retail Practices
While there’s a world of difference between buying things in a store and seeking medical diagnosis and treatment, one thing that retail practices excel at is providing a pleasant customer experience. Medical groups can do something similar, focusing on a good patient experience, and part of that is the staff at the counter that interacts with patients.
With proper training and setting the tone with expectations and responsibilities, front-of-house staff can be an effective means of collecting payments.
When the patient is coming in for service, or even just for scheduling, you can get the ball rolling right there. Scheduling is a good time to start broaching the topic of payment as you’re going to be getting a good insight into exactly what services will be required, and what duration. It’s not that unnatural while discussing the length and requirement of medical treatment also to start discussing payment plans and options.
For example, if a patient is being scheduled for surgery, this is also a good time to start asking about deductibles, HSA, or flexible spending accounts. Patient collection is not something that has to be a grueling, painful process. If you plan ahead and find other opportunities, you can make it a natural part of the treatment plan.
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