Receivables management: Offer choices, not credit

Q. How can I minimize risks to ensure patient payments?
Friday, September 25, 2015

A. Ensuring your patients come up with payments when their bills are due is becoming more difficult than ever before. With 76% of Americans living from paycheck to paycheck, and 62% of Americans unable to find even $500 to pay for an unexpected expense, it’s little wonder that providers are not getting paid. Providers can reduce the number of patients going to collections with some careful considerations.

Offer choices 

Offering a choice of payment can often make the difference between getting payments or getting no money. Because families often do not have the means to pay upfront, offering other payment options, such as credit cards and online payment portals, may make it more feasible to pay on time. 

Enact policies and procedures 

Have your policies and procedures figured out in advance. Make certain that your employees understand them thoroughly so that no one has to second-guess the policy. Get your payment policy in writing and have the patients sign the policy. 

Avoid offering credit 

While it is perfectly OK to offer different credit plans through other companies, avoid offering your own credit, except to certain well-known clients. If you do offer credit, be certain to check their credit worthiness.

Ask for payment upfront 

It behooves a provider to expect payment upfront for services rendered. With insurance, clients need to understand what amount they are liable for and need to pay the difference when they go in for the appointment. In this way, you can help minimize the number of patients who do not pay.

Keith Lilek is CEO of A/R Allegiance Group. Reach him at