Collections Strategies for Medical Practices to Better Manage Cash Flow

July 06, 2014

In the Medical Economics article published 6/24/2014, Lisa Zamosky summarizes how many factors, primarily the economic downturn and higher deductibles, have made patients more aware of medical costs. In addition to the growth of high-deductible plans, there are millions of new insureds entering the insurance market via the Affordable Care Act (ACA), thus patient out-of-pocket costs are very high compared to past health plans. Thus, medical practices are having a harder time collecting payments. And as proof of medical practices’ cash flow difficulties, anMGMA survey even found that bad debts increased by 14% between 2008 and 2012.

What are the next steps for medical practices? Below are collections strategies detailed in the article to improve collections processes and provide financial tools to patients.

  1. Establish transparent financial policies by requiring the following before each appointment:
    1. Confirm insurance eligibility
    2. Bring form of payment to appointment
    3. Communicate financial policies (including additional costs) clearly to patients
  2. Educate your Patients
    1. Help patients better understand their insurance policies
  3. Offer Easy Payment Options
    1. Provide as many payment options as possible
    2. Take advantage of Technology
    3. Offer “specials” to incentivize patients to pay
  4. Refuse Patients that do not pay, but use caution
    1. Terminate or refer patient to other providers, but clearly define policy and make sure all employees understand all scenarios
  5. Reduce Outstanding Balances
    1. Pursue payment quicker
    2. Review all options to help patients pay

View the entire article at Medical Economics: