Decrease the Expense of Patient Statements by Increasing Upfront Payments

Decrease the Expense of Patient Statements by Increasing Upfront Payments

A frazzled mom walks into your pediatric clinic. She approaches the check-in desk, and your receptionist notices dark circles below wet eyes, red from crying, possibly even during the drive to the office. 

The screaming toddler on the mom’s hip is not so interested in disguising his anguish. He wails in pain as he tugs on his ear, not afraid to let the tears fall freely. Even those staff members behind the check-in desk, standing at the hallway scale or walking a patient to an exam room, can hear the little guy.

After checking in the fidgety little boy, the receptionist sees on her computer screen that this family has a high-deductible insurance plan and will owe a portion of it for the sick visit. As the toddler’s cries continue to echo throughout the office, the receptionist hesitates, dreading having to ask this distraught mother for an upfront payment.

Scenarios like this one happen all too frequently in pediatric offices, and not having a plan on how to handle patient collections during these tense situations can lead to lost revenue. Here are some tips to help your pediatric practice stay on top of patient collections and lessen the burden and expense associated with patient statements.

Implementing a Straightforward Upfront Collections System

While sending patient statements by mail or in electronic form is certainly a cost and can add up quickly for pediatric practices, the larger expense is not getting paid for the services you provide in your practice.

One of the best ways to ensure patients pay what they owe is to have an effective system for collecting upfront payments. It should make sense for both your staff and your patients.

Equipping Your Team Members

Talk to your team members who check in patients and make sure they understand the importance of collecting what patients owe for the appointment. These days, this conversation goes beyond copays, especially as more families have high-deductible health insurance plans. It’s important the staff can determine what the patient’s deductible is and where they stand in meeting that deductible.

Many times, team members will need training on how to calculate the patient’s financial responsibility for an appointment and even how to talk to stressed parents like the mom in the above story.

Find the right billing partner to help you implement these strategies to collect adequate upfront payments. It will decrease the expense of patient statements in the long run.

Understanding Your Patients’ Needs

Parents of young children are overloaded with school, activities, meals, laundry, and many other tasks. Pediatric appointments are important to them, but they sure do appreciate efficient, family-friendly methods. This includes paying for your pediatric services.

Keep that in mind when deciding how you will collect upfront payments from patients in your office. Make it simple for patients to pay and consider the strategy of using a credit card on file.

To learn about three other ways to decrease the expense of patient statements, read this article.

Rebecca Nace, RHIA
rnace@officepracticum.com