Benchmark Collections and Communicate Your Policies
Does your practice have a collections policy? Do your staff members communicate it to patients?
Having clear policies that your staff understands and communicates to patients can help improve the operations as well as the financial health of your practice.
Our billing services department uses the following benchmark policy for clients: 60% or more of your accounts should be current (0-30 days old) and less than 10% of accounts should be 120 days or older. Keeping your accounts current helps to reduce the amount of time (and expense!) it takes to collect money that already belongs to your practice.
How can you keep your aging accounts receivable current?
Communicate Your Collections Policy
An important step in keeping your practice’s AR in the best shape possible is to be sure that your staff communicates and implements the collection policy during the first encounter/conversation with a patient.
Establish Statement and Collections Practices
Establish the number of bills you intend to send as well as whether your practice will send only balances above a certain size for collections before you initiate collection action. Will a patient lose his or her right to be seen at the practice or be reinstated if they pay their account? If so, be sure the staff member who is responsible for communicating this fact knows how and when to do so.
Your patients should have a clear understanding of what constitutes a past due account and when it will be turned over to an agency for collection.
Determine Monthly Minimums for Payment Plans
Does your practice accept payments over time? Be sure to establish expectations about the minimum monthly payment. Some practices set the monthly amount at $50 to $100 or whatever level will satisfy the obligation within 12 months.
If you are uncertain whether your staff is aware of your payment and collections policy and if they are communicating it to patients, it might be a good idea to review the topic in your next staff meeting. It also doesn’t hurt to have a reminder in the form of a small sign for staff to see in the area they take calls from new patients.
If you have questions about this topic or any other issues around the business of medicine, contact us via email or call us at 800-635-4040.