Proper collections practices don’t start and end with correct billing and coding— they begin with well-trained staff members and patients that have clear expectations and a thorough understanding of your practice’s policies. Here are some simple and cost-effective ways to ensure consistent, comprehensive practices for medical billing, coding, and collecting at your office: In-network providers have promised and signed a contract to collect co-pays& deductibles at the time of the visit. All patients have to sign a truth and lending and all deductions must be listed on the claim form. Out of network providers also have to follow a lending law which gives you the ability to give a credit to a patient must have a written financial policy. Billing and Coding are watched over by the Federal Government, The state laws, and the banking laws.
- At the Front Desk
- Ensure patients understand and accept, in writing, responsibility for covering what insurance does not
- Each visit, have patients sign your practice’s financial policy; If this is too tedious, consider posting a sign stating patient financial obligations
- Patients who understand their role are less likely to assume their insurance provider is making mistakes that they, the patient, bear no responsibility for.
- Collect co-pays immediately and ensure staff know what to do when a patient did not bring payment; Instead of re-booking and potentially losing a lucrative appointment altogether, smile, tell them you understand, and give them a have them sign a sheet allowing you to collect by credit card over the phone, or a direct deposit to your account, last but least effective pre-addressed envelope that they can place a check in and mail off when they get home.
- Via Statements
- Make sure the practice’s phone number is prominent on all patient bills— if you are easy to contact, patients will be less likely to put off making a payment or plans for installments
- Include a specific due date, OR
- Make it clear that you expect to be paid promptly and in full; include the message “Payment is due upon receipt” which is clear and to the point
- If a patient calls in with questions regarding the insurance provider’s decisions, take the time to go over the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) with them; it is often confusing, putting patients off from paying in a timely manner
It is also important to have a plan in place for handling unpaid balances, such as when/if you send them to collections and how the patient will be treated if they make an appointment for another visit.