The medical industry is constantly in flux. New regulations replace the old. The way patients are treated has evolved, as has the way patients pay for your services. Unfortunately for medical practitioners, patients seem to have less responsibility when it comes time to pay for the care they’ve received.
As you know, operating a successful medical practice comes with a great deal of overhead, whether it’s from insurance, staff or medical equipment. These expenses get passed on to your patients, so when a group of them don’t pay, it negatively affects the cash flow.
Many patients are on insurance plans with high deductibles, which means they’re paying more out of pocket than ever before and getting into delinquency situations more often. You know how difficult it is to get payment from an insurance company, and you also know that it is from three to five times more difficult to get payment out of a patient. This means a solution is in order and one of the best is collection solutions that involve a reputable agency that will protect your brand as a healthcare provider while improving your cash flow.
When you’re providing care to your patients, you’re focused on getting them well or keeping them well. You know that around half of the time you’re prescribing courses of treatment, you won’t be aware of how much their insurance will cover and how much will be expected of them to pay out of pocket. Your Hippocratic oath does not include a responsibility to exam their financial situation, nor should it. However, you must have collection solutions set up if you want to stay financially viable as a practice.
There are a few ways you can start to ensure that your practice has some cushion when it comes to patient payments. First, your patients should know what’s expected of them when they first come through your door. Set the rules early and they are more likely to stay current on their payments. They should be informed early when their account will be sent to collections for non-payment. For many practices, 60 days of no payment equals a transfer to collections.
You need to determine what course of action you’ll take with that patient once they’ve been sent to collections. Will you continue to treat them or will they be informed up front that no further appointments will be accepted until the delinquent balance is collected? Every practice is different and every patient/doctor relationship is unique. However, establishing a rule of thumb for everyone provides the consistency your staff needs to enforce the rules so that everyone will follow them.
Collection solutions are not an easy item to tackle. If you’re struggling with cash flow or having your staff spend too much time dealing with delinquent accounts, partner with Omega-RMS, llc., where your accounts will get consistent treatment and your staff will be free of the burden of chasing down debt from your patients.