If your practice is thinking about offering patients ‘insurance-only’ payment options in order to creatively boost revenue collection, think again: new reports show that providers who use this kind of approach to revenue cycles are getting targeted by federal and state governments.
Basically, many providers have found it either a massive nuisance or even a money-losing venture to try to collect small deductibles and co-insurance amounts from patients. Sometimes, the cost of sending bills and trying to collect these tiny amounts of money costs a practice more than it receives, even if the patient eventually pays. It’s true that waiving these amounts would make business sense, except that many insurance companies consider it a breach of contract, and other parties can also raise lawsuits based on this practice.
Different states have different rules on waiving patient payments, so look very closely at what your state requires. It’s also important to note that Medicare and Medicaid are fighting back against providers who waive the small patient payments, again, because this places more of a burden on the principle payer, which, in this case, is backed by the taxpayers.
Over time, we’ve found that doctors who take a proactive stance on collecting deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance can get a lot better at optimizing revenue cycles. This means collecting payments BEFORE the patient leaves your office. A commonly recognized statistic in the industry indicates that after the date of service, when the patient has left the practice, the chances of collection have dropped about 16%. If you calculate this across your patient volume, that’s a lot of money lost.
Rather than waiving payments and leaving your practice vulnerable to legal challenges, use these tips:
Employ caring, attentive front desk staff who can educate patients while they are in the waiting room. There’s nothing worse than being greeted by a harried and rude front desk individual who leaves your patients feeling like they are the ones intruding on your practice. This also gives your practice a very unprofessional appearance and can quickly tarnish your image.
Train staff on asking for patient payments up front, prior to a visit or procedure. Do this 100% vs. 99%. The 1% difference can add up.
Bill patients in a timely manner rather than waiting for delayed insurance payments. Make sure your billing team receives charges and payments in a timely manner. This area alone significantly affects your cash flow.
Have a competitive back-office approach that gets new bills out the door as quickly as possible. Your patients and your bottom line will appreciate this.
When it comes to tackling financial challenges, it’s important that you pursue efficient alternatives rather than just cutting corners with a band-aid approach that will create more challenges down the road. Creative and proactive renovations of your revenue cycle can help you keep your ship afloat if they conform to the most recent aspects of legislation in the healthcare industry.
Learn more at http://www.RMK123.com. Sunni is President/CEO of RMK Holdings, Inc., a revenue cycle management firm inclusive of medical billing and pre to early out collection services, serving physicians and other healthcare organizations in Illinois and throughout the USA. Patterson’s also President/CEO of Revenue Management of Illinois Corporation, which specializes in third party healthcare debt collection agency services. Sunni a
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