By: Christopher Wolfington
5 Ways to Improve the Payment Collection Process
The medical billing process is daunting for both patients and service providers alike, as patients frequently struggle to pay their bills and healthcare providers are often unable to collect payments owed to them.
Here are 5 simple ways that healthcare providers can improve the payment collection process to not only ease patients’ anxiety and difficulties relating to their ability to pay, but increase the efficiency of the healthcare system and reduce the burden on providers to track down uncollected medical debt.
- Engage the Patient Early On
Be upfront with patients about the cost of the service before it takes place and makes sure they understand how much of the cost they will be responsible for. Don’t wait until later on in the process or even afterward to drop the news.
If possible, collect part of the payment (50% or more) pre-service. Discuss payment plans with the patient to ensure they have a game plan going in, which both reduces stress and increases their likeliness to pay the full amount.
- Be Clear and Direct
Be as clear and honest with your patient as possible. Patients will be more likely to pay (and pay on-time) when they fully understand the total costs. Surprising them with additional costs that they were previously unaware of only serves to reduce trust and customer satisfaction as well as deter them from paying.
Train your staff on how to best inform patients and ask for payments; provide them with a basic script to follow.
- Provide Efficient Customer Support
Make sure patients can easily and efficiently receive support before, during and after the payment process. Set up a sufficient system for receiving and addressing patient follow up questions, complaints and concerns.
- Provide Online Access
The ease of paying medical bills improves significantly when patients have the ability to view and pay their bills online. This allows them to pay from anywhere, at any time, which also greatly increases the probability of completing the payment.
- Provide Easy Access at the Point of Service
Finally, make it easier to pay at the point of service by providing easy access to payment processing within your facility.