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Practice Management Hack #4: Gracefully Collecting Past-Due Patient Balances

Unfortunately, in the medical profession, billing and payment processes can be overly complex thanks to regulations and plain miscommunication. Whether a patient has been seen and his or her insurance plan does not cover the visit or a life-saving emergency occurs and the patient turns out not to have insurance at all, it can be financially draining for healthcare practitioners to receive payment for their services after the fact.

How to Seek Payment From Past-Due Patients Graciously
In the process of collecting past-due payments, it’s important to do so graciously. After all, you need to collect payment, but you also want to keep not only your patients intact, but also your reputation. If a past-due patient feels like your practice is using pressure tactics to collect payment, he or she may take to the Internet to mar the name of your practice, even if unfairly, leading to a much larger battle in the future. As a result, you should start off with gentle tactics, such as phone calls or emails personally from your office.

Make Sure Your Staff is Trained
Although it may come across as rudimentary, one of the biggest black holes for practice managers when it comes to past-due payments is a lack of staff training. Your practice is likely busy, but that’s no reason not to have staff involved in billing priorities. Take the time to ensure that your administrative staff is not only greeting patients in a friendly manner, but also that they are keeping up with medical coding and due dates. Simple actions can go a long way in ensuring that patients are receiving their bills on time, but also that they remit payment on time.

Review Your State’s Collection Laws
Finally, it’s important for the sake of your practice’s continued growth that you review and implement bill collection laws that are in line with your state’s statutes. While you may want to reach out and demand payment, things don’t always work like that. In addition, your state may have laws that are different than the state from which a patient came from, so it’s a good idea to figure out exactly what you can and can’t do in collection practices prior to firing off that email or mailing off that bill.

Partner with a Medical Billing Services Provider
Another potential solution is to partner with a medical practice software company that can help with everything from practice scheduling to medical billing and more. Claims management software can streamline the collections process and make it easy to follow-up on claims. This removes much of the burden from your practice when it comes to tallying and seeking past-due bills, allowing you to focus on patient care, an aspect of service that is sure to keep patients coming back. To discover for yourself how PracticeSuite can help solve your medical billing woes and more sign up for a trial account.
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