Today, nearly every hospital, surgery center or physician practice struggles to collect patient payments. As patient responsibility for payment increases—both in total cost and in proportion of revenue—so does the problem. On top of that, the longer it takes providers to collect payment, the less likely they are to collect the full bill. So, what should providers do? By collecting payments at the point of service, healthcare providers can improve collection rates, in turn boosting their bottom line.
Collecting at point of sale improves patient experience…and your bottom line.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that patient experience can impact bill payment. In fact, patient satisfaction accounts for a difference of $444 net patient revenue between hospitals with “excellent” and “moderate” patient ratings. For the best patient experience (and collection rates), providers should be prepared to tackle tough money conversations with care and tact. Take a look at a few collection strategies below:
- Estimate costs before care – By telling patients what their bill will be before they even see a physician, providers can reduce the sticker shock when it’s time to pay the bill.
- Provide payment options – Sometimes patients cannot afford to pay the bill all at once. But if providers are willing to work with the patient by setting up a financing plan, patients can pay their bill over time in manageable monthly increments.
- Explain what…and why – It’s frustrating to get a bill with charges you don’t understand. By explaining the various charges, and why they were incurred, providers can build rapport with their patients.
Help your staff help your patients.
Your reception staff are on the frontlines. They are the first and last impression of the patient experience, and they are the people who will collect point-of-service bill payment. But without adequate training, they can’t provide the level of service patients expect. Taking the time to teach staff—through participating in seminars, reviewing cost schedules or acting out various scenarios they might face with patients—equips them with the tools they need to support patients.
At Health Credit Services, we know the value of a positive patient experience. Our platforms are patient- and provider-friendly, and our in-depth training ensures your staff will be prepared to guide patients through the payment process before they leave the office. To learn more about us and how we can work together, visit HCSloans.com.