Twenty percent. This is approximately how much of a medical practice’s revenue is made up of patient co-pays.
To some physical therapists, this portion may not be very significant. But with the difficulties that medical practices are facing today in terms of revenue and reimbursements, that twenty percent can no longer be ignored. Practices today simply cannot afford to lose any more revenue, which is why collecting co-pays has become vital.
Unfortunately, collecting co-pays can be easier said than done. Sometimes, patients will question the necessity of the co-pay, or claim that they cannot make the payment. Either way, this will make collections difficult and in the long run, affect your revenue cycles.
Thankfully, there are ways you can make collections a lot easier on yourself and your staff. Here are some of them:
1. Communicate clearly to patients about prices and co-pays
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again- you need to be transparent about your pricing. One of the reasons why providers have a hard time collecting is because patients are often blindsided by the costs and are unprepared to pay them. To avoid this problem you need to communicate clearly to the patient before their appointment exactly what is covered by their insurance and what they will have to pay. Make sure that patients clearly understand your co-pay policy and its importance, and are ready to make the payment once they step inside your clinic. You can have your staff communicate this information to your patients; have signs clearly stating your payment policy inside your clinic; and post these policies in your practice website as well. If patients express displeasure at having to make this payment, make sure your staff is able to respond properly and with understanding. This brings us to our next point-
2. Train your staff to collect
Make sure your staff is well-trained at collecting payments before you see patients. They should be able to do the above task, update patients on remaining balances as well as handle payment questions or concerns with utmost courtesy and empathy. Patients will respond more positively when talked to, especially about financial matters, this way. You can motivate staff to fulfill these tasks more effectively by offering incentives for excellent performance.
3. Make payments easy
Of course collections will come easier if you make the process of payment a lot easier. You can do this by offering different payment options, such as payment plans that may be more feasible for patients that are struggling financially. You can also allow them to pay you via credit or debit card, or online.
4. Regularly update your patients on payments
You may risk becoming annoying by regularly reminding patients of their payments, but generally this move is effective in getting you paid on time. Most practices contact their patients monthly, but if your staff are up to the task, you can have them do this weekly. More frequent contact may convince more of your patients to pay their dues.
5. Streamline collections process with medical billing software and solutions
It’s highly impractical for practices nowadays to operate without the assistance of medical billing software. These can make your entire collections process so much easier and more manageable as they keep track of all past due bills, automate late fees and so much more.
If you’re on the lookout for custom software solution and services that are sure to streamline your billing process and simplify revenue cycle management, Park Medical Billing can help. Our fully customized solutions have been used successfully by numerous physical therapy practices, and our leading experts continuously develop these solutions to ensure alignment with the most pressing needs of physical therapy practices today.
To know more about our offerings, please don’t hesitate to call us on 1-201-585-7306.