Collections: Set the standard

Q. How do I eliminate or deter the assumption that I won’t send patients to collections?
Friday, August 23, 2013

A. What really is a good patient/customer for your business? One who continues to purchase and rent products but never pays or one who pays or at least makes an attempt? You are losing the balance due, inventory cost and administrative time. Proactivity is the best remedy—set the standard from the start for the patients and your staff. 

It is imperative that both sides understand what is expected.  The market continues to create obstacles for the average provider, so we must enforce the expectancy that the patient is accountable, and create every avenue and resource we can to collect. Attempt to collect what is in the patient AR now; running parallel with that effort should be what needs to happen to capture any new patient revenue coming in the door. 

Start with your staff: They are a portal to your company. When services are rendered, the staff must establish expectation of payment. Placing that expectation on customer service also means the owner/management must provide necessary resources for the staff, including training and a set process. Confirming all patient information is essential. The stronger the expectation of payment is stressed at the time of service, the higher the chances of collecting.  

All information listed in a financial policy must be reviewed at the time of service and during each communication with the patient. The first time the provider ignores the policy will be the start/continuation of a disaster. Always offer a variety of options to include check by phone, credit card or EFT to your patients. The resources must be readily available for both the staff and the patients.

Kit Shellhouse is vice president of operations for ECS Billing & Consulting North. Reach her at kshellhouse@ or 419-448-5332.