Reprinted with permission by Woodcock & Associates © 2021
As payors and employers are now offering health plans with higher deductibles and copayments, collecting at the point-of-service is more important than ever to ensure a successful practice. Payors are shifting an ever-increasing percentage of financial responsibility to patients. Insured patients don’t examine their health plans in detail, focusing instead on payment of premiums and provider networks. Patients rarely take a close look at the totality of financial responsibility and are often surprised by medical bills. Despite these trends, many practices collect only a fraction of what patients owe at the point-of-service.
Collecting at the point-of-service is undoubtedly a sensitive topic, but it shouldn’t be ignored. If a patient is unhappy in any way with the care they received, billing errors or aggressive collection activities could undermine the physician-patient relationship and become the impetus for the patient to file a malpractice claim. Effective patient collections and revenue cycle management can help mitigate your malpractice and compliance risks. The following tips will help your practice or facility be successful in this new reality:
- Hire employees, especially front office positions, who are capable of navigating payment collections
- Get all your employees involved
- Train staff on:
- Where to look in the system for the patient’s financial responsibility, both current and past
- Asking for ALL balances
- Inquiring about balances during the scheduling process
- How to ask for money
- Basic concepts like deductibles, as well as access to the details of patients’ coverage and benefits eligibility
- Handling a refusal of payment
- Risk Management Consideration: Contact the LAMMICO Risk Management and Patient Safety Department at 504.841.5211 prior to modifying/terminating treatment and/or discharging a patient from the practice.
- Log “non payments” and reasons why at time of service
- Measure the performance of the practice and individual employees by monitoring collection activity
- Display the correct signage
- Answer questions calmly, patiently and without exhibiting frustration or disdain
For a more in-depth discussion on these tips and more suggestions on improving your patient collections, join us for our next webinar, “Best Practices in Patient Collections” on Thursday, May 6, at noon. This webinar is offered at no additional cost to LAMMICO insureds and their practice staff. Elizabeth Wallace Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC, will give a one-hour presentation sharing her insights and best practices for patient collections followed by a Q & A session moderated by Natalie B. Cohen, MBA, MHA, LAMMICO Practice Management Specialist.
To register for the webinar, log in as a Member at lammico.com and select "Webinars" from the drop-down menu under your name if you are using a desktop or laptop computer or tablet. If possible, please register at least 24 hours in advance of the webinar.
This information is provided to you through Practice Solutions, a program created to help LAMMICO insureds mitigate their malpractice risk as well as navigate the regulatory and financial burdens on physicians and their practices. If you are interested in learning more about Practice Solutions contact the LAMMICO Risk Management and Patient Safety Department at 504.841.5211.