4 Reasons Why You Need a Strong Financial Policy for Your Pediatric Practice

As a pediatrician or someone who works in a pediatric practice, you are passionate about providing high-quality healthcare to children. However, if your practice is struggling financially, you won’t be able to adequately focus on taking care of kids.

In a world where high deductibles are more common, your pediatric practice has to effectively collect money to stay in business. One strategy to help with the increasing patient responsibility of healthcare costs is to implement and enforce a strong financial policy.

You might be wondering, “Do I really need to update my financial policy?” A simple first step to answering that question is to look at Accounts Receivable; if it’s rising, you should assess how your financial policy may be part of the problem and where your practice needs to stand to stay financially viable.

Here are four reasons why you need a strong financial policy for your pediatric practice.

It’s important for your patients and their families to see your pediatric practice as a business.

If you treat your pediatric practice as a business, your patients’ families will view it as a business, too. When you have a strong financial policy, families know what you expect so you can spend more time taking really good care of their children.

As soon as a new patient begins receiving care at your practice, you should set the financial ground rules and enforce them from the beginning. If you do so, you’ll have a much better chance of collecting what patients owe for the care you provide.

When you have a policy, collecting money is not personal.

If you have a strong financial policy that applies to all patients and their families, this lessens the chance that someone will feel attacked or offended when staff members enforce the policy.

Many pediatricians want to give services and treat patients first, then figure out the financial details later. However, it creates problems when you don’t talk about financial expectations upfront. If patients balk at paying what they owe, you might feel discomfort and give in by writing off a charge or offering a discount.

When ground rules are in place, your staff can confidently say, “This is how we handle payments.” When expectations are not clear, it’s emotional and employees might fumble.

You can tailor your policy to your patient population and your staff.

Before updating or implementing a financial policy, you have to consider your team members and your patient population. You should define what a strong policy is for your practice. Start with a more aggressive policy if that works with your staff and your patient population.

However, it doesn’t help you to have a really assertive policy if your staff won’t enforce it. Consider training your employees so they can overcome their uneasiness. Ultimately, you want a policy that ownership is comfortable with and that meets the needs of your business,  employees, and patients.

You will be financially successful well into the future.

As a pediatric practice owner or administrator, you support the mission by making money. You have to know where the money for payroll and vaccines comes from. You must consider overhead costs and keep the cash flow going. The old saying is true and simple, if there’s no money, there’s no mission. A company that’s struggling with cash flow will also struggle to maintain the focus and calm necessary to take good care of patients.

When you behave in a professional way by implementing a strong financial policy, patients will understand what’s expected of them. The result is that your practice does better financially, allowing you to continue caring for patients for many years to come.

For more tips that help the financial aspect of your pediatric practice, check out some other articles in the Pediatric Success Series.

Melissa Habar

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