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Collection Strategies: Tips for Boosting Practice Collections

Oct 25, 2017

Tips for Boosting Practice Collections

Patients today are shouldering more healthcare costs. Between 2005 and 2015, average out-of-pocket costs doubled, and the number of patients enrolled in high-deductible health plans went up six-fold. These cost increases can slow payments to your practice.

Make it Easy to Pay

Most of your patients probably want to pay you, and that’s where your collection program should begin. Here are some tips to make it easier for your patients to pay what they owe.

Review debts in advance and advise patients beforehand 

If patients lack specific coverage, carry a balance or owe a deductible, remind them before their office visit.

Collect in advance

Some practices offer advance payment as a convenient option at the desk. Or you could collect a set fee for a procedure, since you can’t be sure of the total cost. Depending on the claim outcome, you can bill or refund the difference.

Have patients sign a payment policy

State all terms clearly, including payment rules, no-show fees and available payment methods.

Accept different forms of payment

Making it easy for patients to pay will help you avoid some delinquent bills. More patients will pay if you accept checks, cash, credit cards, money orders and PayPal.

Keep patient payment information on file

Collection is faster when a patient has granted permission to bill a credit card or bank account. Don’t court liability, though — let a certified vendor handle the processing and data.

Work with patients

Some practices partner with lenders to offer payment plans, while others finance patient debt themselves and charge interest. Another option is a prepaid deposit, which might be appropriate for chronic no-shows. And as you keep the oath, remember that many practices provide no-pay or low-pay care in some circumstances.

Help patients help themselves

Do you know how much your patients pay for drugs? Be proactive by telling patients about generics, subsidy programs and the pharmaceutical coupons on your shelves.

Send payment reminders

Simple payment reminders can boost collections. Familiarize yourself with different communication channels such as phone, text and email and ask patients which one they prefer. Then make that your primary communication channel with them.

Steady Effort Yields Results

There’s no silver bullet for successful practice collections. However, a combination of methodical work and flexibility can help you recover the most you can. 

Healthcare Practice Strategies - Fall 2017

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