Patient Payments: Changing the Way You Collect

Patient Co-PayPerhaps your practice already requires patient co-pay at check in. Congratulations! You are daily performing a Best Practice to keep your office patient AR more manageable. But perhaps your office still collects co-pays at check out. How often does a patient slip by without paying? Do you have a guide available based on the patients’ deductibles as to what you should be collecting?

High deductible insurance plans have changed the way many practices think about how to keep their patient revenue steady and reduce outside collections. And the change is a relatively simple one: it’s a change in culture, in workflow.

With so many Electronic Medical Records having the ability to perform electronic eligibility, there are fewer and fewer reasons to not be prepared to collect from the patient at check in. With electronic eligibility done a few days out, you can see if the patient is active, if they’ve met their deductible as well as their copay or co-insurance amounts.

There are several ways you can implement this change:

1. The simplest is to have your front desk staff to ask for the patient’s copay during the check in process.
2. But perhaps this staff is not up to speed on deductibles and co-insurances. If you’ve already been doing this practice at check-out, simply have the patient go to the check out window during check in to make their payment. This staff is already knowledgeable on how to collect and post the payments.
3. Maybe your office has never collected any deductibles outside of Medicare. Doing a little legwork can save a huge hit to your bottom line down the road. Perhaps you need to identify a financial counselor that meets privately with your high-deductible patients to collect up front or  to set up financial arrangements.

Financial Counselor

This is just a sampling of what can be done to re-shape the way your practice thinks about patient payments. A report from Athena Health states that “your chances of collecting payment are reduced by 62 percent once the patient leaves the office.” Deciding how your practice is going to change its collection practices is the first step in managing patient payment expectations. Let Legacy help you prepare the new workflows and re-train your staff to make sure patient collections reduce the impact to your overall outstanding Accounts Receivable.

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