Steps to Take to Reduce Patient Collections

Candace Lewis, Director, Revenue Cycle Management Revenue Cycle Management (RCM)

patient collections

With the increase in medical insurance plans with high deductibles, most medical practices have a significant amount of patient accounts receivables. Practices send statements monthly but do not see the return on investment based on the amount of money it costs to send statements and the time it takes to review an account prior to statement generation.

Waystar, a health care technology company, recently completed its second annual patient payment survey and the results give practices an insight into how patients feel about the collection experience. Here are some of the survey’s findings:

  • More than half of the patients surveyed stated they would like to receive their bills and make payments electronically.
  • Around 85 percent of patients felt the same responsibility to pay for health care as they do other professional services, yet less than 20 percent found it “easy to understand and convenient to pay for” health care expenses.
  • More than 75 percent of patients surveyed would be willing to pre-authorize charges on a credit card at the time of service for charges up to $200.

Based on these survey findings, here are recommendations for practices to improve their patient collections:

  • Express to patients the benefits of enrolling in patient portals. This will allow patients to see statement details and make online payments.
  • Review the format of the statement being sent, ensure the statements clearly outline the reason for the balance, the amount due and timeframe payment is expected. Most practice management systems will allow customization of the type of information on a statement. Practices may need to provide more or less detail to assist in the understanding of the statements.
  • Collect pre-authorization on a credit card at the time the patient is seen. Practices can do this by investing in programs to securely store a card on file for future uses. Not only does this reduce your patients accounts receivables but it reduces the amount of credit balances because you know exactly what the patient will owe before processing the payment.

If you need assistance with developing and implementing patient collections policies and procedures, Medical Advantage Group can help. Our Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) consultants can help identify areas of opportunity in your revenue cycle and provide solutions to assist in bridging the gap. Our RCM services can help ease your administrative burden, increase cashflow, and allow your physicians to spend more time focused on patients.