We all read and hear it said that patients are now our 3rd largest payor–right behind Medicare and Medicaid. It is the most talked about issue in medical billing and collections–the rising patient accounts receivables. “What do we do to get ahead of it and where do we start?” That is the question I was most often asked in 2019.
The answer lies in a bookends approach to regaining control of your runaway A/R. This strategy involves a simultaneous look at (1) prevention and (2) clean-up. Over a period of days, weeks and/or months, we can reduce your outstanding A/R but if you don’t look at how it got there, you’re not fixing the “broken pipe.” You are only mopping up the water. Having said that, goal #1 is to not let a balance hit your A/R in the first place. If it must, then goal #2 is to get it off the books as soon as possible.
It’s time to manage patient balances 2020-style! What exactly does this mean? It means healthcare RCM needs to move at the rate of speed–to get paid–as all other industries. The quick tips I have to offer are these:
- Train frontline to say, “Will that be cash, check, or credit card on file?”
- Have patient opt-in to E-statements ( vs. paper bills)
- Offer financing options ( STOP being the creditor)
- Bill patients immediately ( vs. waiting in the queue for the next statement run)
- Offer pay-by-text option ( vs. the patient portal, by phone or mail)
- Know your true self-pays ( vs. insurance filing errors)
- Treat higher balances aggressively ($5 vs. $500 not to be treated equally)
- Move towards a 15/30/45/60-days aging model ( vs. 30/60/90/120+ days)
By clients’ own admissions, they say they are using the same policies and work processes as was used back when copay-only plans were the most common type of coverage. Each of the recommendations above requires a discussion for change either to policy or process or both. Most involve third-party solutions that were not available or not affordable until now. 2020 is the year to take back control of your patients’ accounts.
For more information on what (baby) steps to take to reach any of these eight 2020 goals, hit the CONTACT tab and share your struggles. I am here to coach, consult, or simply point you in the right direction.
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Frances Burton24 Feb 2020
Required fields vs voluntary fields