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7 key components to improve your patient collections 

The patient collections process is inherently challenging. Patients’ financial responsibilities are on the rise, manifested in higher deductibles, coinsurance amounts, and copayments. When paired with diminishing payer reimbursements, the importance of collecting balances escalates significantly.    

Effective collections are multifaceted and require a strategic blend of proactive measures, clear communication, and innovative technologies. By focusing on specific vital components, medical practices can successfully navigate the complex landscape of healthcare finance.  

Improving this process is necessary for healthcare professionals aiming to maximize and maintain a steady cash flow while staying at the forefront of their business.    

Therefore, here are seven key components you must focus on to improve your patient collections:  

1. Eligibility and benefits  

A fundamental step in optimizing collections involves ensuring precise verification of eligibility and benefits. This process starts before the patient is checked in.    

Establish a robust system that verifies insurance information before the appointment. Also, have your front desk verify benefits to determine the total estimated out-of-pocket costs.     

Remember to inform patients ahead of time of their benefits so they understand what they are paying for. This proactive approach prevents surprises and helps set realistic expectations for both parties. 

Read about the benefits of outsourcing your eligibility and benefits process in our blog Why should you outsource your patient’s eligibility and benefits process?

2. Point of service collections  

Seizing the opportunity at the point of service is crucial for boosting collections. Some steps to improve your payment process are:  

  • Clearly communicate your patients’ payment expectations  
  • Offer multiple payment methods for your customers
  • Maintain a solid financial policy  
  • Educate your staff to collect up-front payments and balances  

Read more about how to improve your payments process in our blog 4 steps to improve your patient payment process.

Regarding your point of service collections, training your staff to discuss financial responsibilities upfront is also essential. According to a Mad*Pow research report61% of patients are confused by their medical bills. The report also stated that most of them identified providers or their billing department as the root cause of their frustration and errors.  

Therefore, medical practices must train their staff to foster trust, reduce confusion, and create a more transparent billing experience.      

3. Patient statements  

Patient billing statements are comprehensive documents that provide patients with a summary of the services they have received and the associated costs.    

Clear and concise statements are essential for effective communication. Customized statements include detailed information about services, insurance adjustments, patient responsibilities, etc. Regular, easy-to-understand statements provide a positive experience and facilitate timely payments.   

It is also essential to run reports to see the total number of statements, and the total dollar amount will keep you alert to how the process is going.

4. Online patient portals  

In the digital age, online portals are invaluable for enhancing the patient’s billing experience. Implement a user-friendly portal that allows patients to:   

  • Access their statements  
  • Review their accounts  
  • Make payments conveniently  

According to the ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology), in 2022, about 3 in 5 individuals were offered and accessed their online medical records or patient portals. The frequency of access has increased consistently over time.  

Providing accessibility to patients to make payments online through the practice website will allow them to pay on their own time. This can boost collections and reduce the costs of staff productivity hours.   

5. Patient Financial Services  

Patient financial services, such as payment plans and financial assistance programs, demonstrate a commitment to patient satisfaction. Also, tailor payment plans to individual needs and communicate the terms.   

These services not only improve patient collections but also contribute to enhancing patient experience, maximizing retention, and increasing loyalty.  

Our Patient Financial Services are available to your patients to call in and request additional information on balances, inquire about billing issues, and make payments (if your system allows it).   

At Health Prime, we serve as the point of contact for all patients regarding their medical billing services. Our team will help your patients process payments, explain their balances to your office, handle refund requests, answer questions about insurance, update insurance information, and more.  

6. Post-visit patient collections  

Even if the ideal for all medical practices is to collect all payments upfront, this is not always feasible. Maximizing your post-visit collections by implementing an effective plan to collect these payments after the patient has left the office is essential.    

Past the time of service, polite but persistent follow-up activities are crucial to collecting balances. Implementing a systematic approach to follow up on overdue accounts will be helpful. Also, utilize technology to automate reminders and employ a compassionate approach when communicating with those experiencing financial difficulties.

Learn more about improving your patient collections process in our whitepaper How to Improve your Patient Collections Process.

7. Bad debt management  

Despite best efforts, some accounts may transition to bad debt. Therefore, your practice must have a strategic approach in place to manage bad debt, including:  

  • Identifying patterns  
  • Reviewing collection processes  
  • Implementing preventive measures  

Regularly analyze and update your bad debt management strategy to minimize financial losses.

Maintaining a strong bad debt management strategy is crucial for the financial health of a medical practice. Beyond ensuring stability and consistent cash flow, an effective system contributes to positive patient relationships through transparent communication and compassionate handling of overdue accounts.   

By adhering to compliance standards, optimizing resources, and embracing a data-driven approach, medical practices can safeguard against economic instabilities and make informed decisions to consistently improve financial outcomes. 

At Health Prime, we can help!  

Outsourcing your patient collections is a great way to reduce your staff’s administrative burden and ensure you get paid for your work. At Health Prime, we can help. Our medical billing solutions can allow you to maximize collections and increase cash flow.     

Contact us at [email protected]. Our team will set up a meeting to discuss how we can maximize your revenue by cutting costs, saving time, and collecting more!     

Subscribe to the Health Prime blog. Stay tuned to all the latest updates, learn how to improve your medical practice, and ensure you are getting paid for your work.     



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