There is an old saying in billing that self-pay equals "no pay".
While it is still very hard to collect from patients, there are some things you can do to increase the odds of payment.
3 Ways to Collect Billing Payments
1. Offer Customers Convenient Payment Methods
The last thing you want to do is make it hard for your patients to pay you.
If you are lucky enough to have a patient who wants to pay, you have to make it easy.
Here are some suggestions for making payment collections easy:
- A 24-hour, online patient portal where the patient can pull up their current balance and pay with a credit card.
- A quick answer on the telephone. Don’t give your patients an endless phone tree to go through.
- Make sure the person answering the phone speaks well and is easily understood. If you have a significant amount of Spanish patients, get them to a fluent representative.
- Give your patients options if they can’t pay. Have guidelines for payment plans in the hands of the people answering the phones so they can set one up if needed. Allow them to put a payment plan on their credit card for automated payments.
- Offer financing options like Imagine’s HonorCare or CareCredit.
2. Send Statements With Purpose
Experience has shown that the old method of sending statements one through three concept is passé.
Each patient contact needs a specific purpose and should gradually ramp up the pressure to pay. Some people are finding success in sending as few as one notice and then jumping immediately to a pre-collection letter.
ImagineSoftware has a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool that helps determine the likelihood of patient payment based upon online credit and past history. They provide a predictor of payment, then allow you decide how far you wish to go in the collection process.
Why spend good money chasing someone with no likelihood to pay?
3. Know When to Make Phone Calls
It makes sense to make phone calls to high dollar accounts. However, as a rule of thumb, it is not cost-effective to go dialing for dollars.
Robocalls have been a cost-effective way to contact patients about open balances. The problem is that the FCC ruling on robocalls creates some legal risks for pursuing patients in this manner.
You need to obtain prior express written consent from consumers before robocalling them. The FCC has stated, "persons who knowingly release their phone numbers have in effect given their invitation or permission to be called at the number which they have given, absent instructions to the contrary."
Additional things you should keep in mind when making robocalls for payments...
- The FCC no longer allows telemarketers to use an "established business relationship" to avoid getting consent from consumers when their home phones.
- The FCC requires telemarketers to provide an automated, interactive "opt-out" mechanism during each robocall so consumers can immediately tell the telemarketer to stop calling.
The rest is up to you to decide, as many have, the risks often outweigh the rewards.
Check out our blog How to Improve a Radiology Billing Department for more tips on how to collect payments.
Custom Radiology Billing & Coding Solutions
If you haven’t already taken your radiology billing department paperless, now is as good a time as any. Electronic access to billing is a win-win for the patient and the billing department because it makes it easy on the former and streamlines processes for the latter.
Dexios is an award-winning radiology billing expert offering a variety of services and solutions to help you overcome the challenges of today’s healthcare economy.