You don’t need a second opinion to know that the healthcare landscape is drastically changing. Insurance companies are paying less and patients are paying more — yet many medical practices continue to run their business the same way they did five years ago.
If that’s you, it’s time to make a change.
Your practice’s cash flow is a big indicator of its overall health. Considering that…
• insurance reimbursements are plummeting
• self-pay is the number three payer behind Medicare and Medicaid
• about 68% of patients with medical bills $500 or less didn’t pay in full in 2016
…it’s time to help educate patients about their financial responsibility and use tools that keep your cash flow and A/R healthy.
Now that we’ve diagnosed the problem, here are three ways to improve your practice’s cash flow!
Train your staff
Step one is making sure your staff understands your practice’s policies, which should be clearly defined and not vary by physician. Help them understand why healthcare changes may be one reason behind patients’ unwillingness to pay and show them how to make decisions based on aging reports, not feelings.
Send invoices promptly and statements regularly
Your A/R is your practice’s largest asset, so it should be a priority. Promptly sending invoices and regular statements (sooner than 90 days overdue) helps patients get into the habit of paying on time and understand that they do owe you money.
Tweak your statements
Small changes to your patient statements can help increase the urgency to pay. Try removing the:
Aging boxes – which subtly tell patients it’s ok to wait until the last box before there’s a consequence
Amount paid box – which sends the signal that patients have the option of how much to pay
Statement date – which can be confused with the due date
And remember, even after making these changes, your staff may still make mistakes when it comes to a patient’s billing. But the sooner you correct mistakes, the sooner your patients will pay their balance.