If your patients can't pay their statements, your accounts receivables days go up, cash flow slows down, bad debt mounts and revenue shortfalls are inevitable.
Self-pay is an additional burden for hospitals that are already struggling to reduce costs and increase revenue. Increasing efforts toward collecting past due medical debts on is a necessary process that many hospitals who have limited resources cannot afford to do on their own. Luckily, there are is a plethora of affordable outside services that can aid in this process, many of which are cloud-based.
Addressing self-pay collection helps reduce AR days by collecting payment sooner and prevents bigger, more serious revenue cycle problems that could threaten a hospital's long-term growth. Before a hospital decides to purchase a cloud-based self-pay collection solution, there are certain steps they can take to improve their efforts.
4 Steps to Improve Self-Pay Collections
- Engage patients early in the revenue cycle. Your patient access staff should clearly communicate to patients what their anticipated financial obligations will be and, if possible, collect 50% or more pre-service. Ideally, your staff can assess patients’ ability to pay and, where necessary, develop payment plans that allow them to pay their balances over time. Answering questions and counseling patients on their payment options are good ways to ease patients’ anxiety and increase their likelihood to pay.
- Provide easy access to payment processing at every point of service in your facility for patients’ convenience. Improving collections at the point of service includes providing scripts and coaching designed to help your team more easily ask for the payment up front.
- Many people are used to paying bills online, and medical bills should be no different. Give them online access to their accounts so they can see what their insurance has covered, verify recurring payments and make payments anytime and anywhere.
- Finally, close the loop by setting up an efficient process for follow-up phone calls and managing patient questions and complaints. Audit your own patient payment process by emailing or calling support lines regularly to help ensure they are functioning as planned and that staff is responsive.