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May 9, 2016

Improving Patient Collections for a Medical Practice

May 9, 2016

improving patient collections

Medical practices of all kinds are always concerned about patient collections, especially as out-of-pocket expenses for patients increase. With an increase in these expenses comes more difficulty with collecting all of the payments a practice is owed for its services.

Hence, approving patient collections is of paramount importance for a medical practice.

Here is more information about the state of patient collections today and how a practice can improve their processes.

Patient Payments More Difficult to Collect

It is estimated that 30% of all accounts receivable are balances that are delinquent. In other words, outstanding accounts make up almost a third of all accounts in A/R. Additionally, only a third of all copays and costs are collected by the practice when services are rendered. The more payments that aren’t collected up front just add to the amount that must be collected later.

Throw in the fact that collecting from patients costs a practice tremendously and one can see how patient payments have become more stressful for a practice.

Additionally, expenses have become larger for patients. Out-of-pocket expenses have swollen over the past few years, and are projected to rise by as much as 70% over the next year. And a quarter of all patients who have health insurance have to pay high deductibles when they receive care.

How to Improve Collections

One tip to increase collections is collecting all copays and other similar expenses when they check in, up front, before services are rendered. Patients are half as likely to pay their copays once they leave the premises, so it makes sense to collect copays up front for everyone.

Adding variety to your payment methods is another solution. Accept more forms of payment, and offer electronic statements. Online billpay has become more important, so make sure you or your third-party payment collections provider has that capability.

Also, send out statements to your patients as soon as you can. The sooner you issue statements, the more likely the patient is to pay them on time. Waiting months isn’t acceptable because it not only inconveniences your patient, but also delays your payment – which can cause cash flow problems.

Finally, work with a partner who specializes in medical billing to help you optimize your billing and collections process. This is a part of overall revenue cycle management that can dramatically increase your collections rate and improve cash flow.

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