5 Easy Steps to Improve Your Patient Revenue Collection
5 Easy Steps to Improve Your Patient Revenue Collection
By: Mick Polo | Read Time: 7 minutes
Revenue collection is a tricky tightrope act. You understand that paying for health care can be challenging for patients, but you also need their payments to continue providing them with the care they need.
2022 is a big year for health care providers. In the summer of 2020, 81% of physicians had lower revenue than pre-pandemic. According to Fierce Healthcare, nearly 1 in 5 medical practices continued to see a 50% revenue drop in 2021.
Physician revenue decrease in summer 2020
However, in North America particularly, health care utilization levels are expected to be higher in 2022 compared to 2020/2021. Practices need to ensure they're ready to collect payments during this increase as efficiently as possible to ensure they can continue to be there for their patients and make up for revenue drops from 2020 and 2021.
NCDS Medical Billing has identified the key areas to focus on to drive profitability for your practice, and ensure you get paid in full so you can keep your patients healthy.
Gather Complete Patient Information for Accurate Reimbursement
Having a clear picture of your patients’ information is the first step that you should take to improve your revenue collections. Having mismatched patient information directly leads to significant decreases in revenue, while also wasting your staff’s time that could be used on providing better care and enhancing the patient experience.
Incorrect patient information creates costly errors. Medical practices leave up to 30% revenue untouched as a result of billing process inefficiencies and claim rejections. This is money that you and your team has earned, but hasn’t been collected due to mistakes that could have been avoided!
Proactively collect as much patient information as possible so that you have all the details you need to send their bills, notifications, and other messages. From a patient’s first appointment, healthcare organizations should gather the following details:
- Home address
- Mobile phone number
- Email address
- Insurance company information
- Photo ID
- Emergency contact
After initial collection, regularly confirm your patients’ information to ensure you have the most up-to-date details in the important life events like a patient moving or getting married,. Always confirm patient details prior to each appointment.
Finally, regularly look up your patients’ insurance eligibility. This mitigates any unwelcome surprises, such as encountering a plan that no longer includes your practice.
NCDS SOLUTION: Ask NCDS for sample standardized forms so you have "easy to use and understand" paperwork that captures all the data you need from your patients.
Train and Motivate Staff for a Positive Experience
Improved patient collections have a beneficial impact on your staff. You can pay your staff higher wages and invest in their careers if your practice brings in more revenue.
Train up your staff to ensure that they understand the proper protocols and methods for collections. Have a clear, straightforward methodology for how your staff should address patients and set expectations for payment.
After the initial training period, check up with each employee periodically to ensure that they’re following the proper procedures and protocols when it comes to patient collections.
Implement Collections Incentives
To motivate your staff about improving collections, offer incentives to get employees encouraged to properly manage denied claims and payments. Set up an incentive program in which employees are motivated to boost the office’s collection rate.
The success rate of offering incentives to reach an established goal speaks for itself: companies using incentive programs reported a 79% success rate in achieving their established goals when the correct reward was offered.
One method to incentivize staff is with a prize for staff members who reach a certain dollar amount goal for bringing in a certain amount of unpaid expenses. Gift cards could be a great prize to offer up.
The important thing is to plan your incentive program analytically and carefully. Ensure you understand your numbers - how much unpaid expenses does each collector bring in currently? What increase would make a difference in revenue for your business?
NCDS Solution: Contact NCDS to set up a discovery workshop to review front and back office best practices in great detail to help your staff manage patient information and payment collections onsite effectively and efficiently.
Run a Technology-Forward Medical Practice
The latest medical technology solutions have been built to help your practice maximize patient collections. Onboard your medical practice with some of the latest solutions to help your practice increase revenue. Imprivata found that the healthcare industry loses $8.3 billion per year due to outdated technology. Simply put, investing in your technology is an investment in your revenue collection.
Digitally Verify Insurance Eligibility
The first place to start is by ensuring your front office has the digital tools to verify your patients’ insurance eligibility. To maximize revenue collection, mitigate the opportunity for surprises with insurance coverage by confirming insurance online.
By quickly checking patient insurance eligibility digitally before appointments and performing on-demand checks instantly, you save your front office time, improve your relationships with your patients, and reduce the risk of missing payments.
Having an easy online portal for customers to pay their bills will make bill payment that much easier and accessible - and ultimately impact your bottom line and optimize your financial performance.
Patientpop.com shares the benefits of online offerings
Patient portals are game changers: 68% of patients say they’re more likely to choose medical providers where they can take care of their appointment bookings online! This online portal gives customers the power to make appointments, receive reminders, and pay their bills. It also allows patients to leave messages and get in touch with staff quickly over email.
NCDS SOLUTION: Tools for verifying insurance eligibility digitally and establishing a patient portal are available to you through the NCDS Client and Patient Logins. Get in touch with NCDS for a demonstration of how these services work, automating and streamlining processes for your practice and your patients.
Offer Top Quality Service and Value-Based Care
Your service offerings help ensure you receive as much revenue as possible. By offering top quality service that meets your patients where they are, you have a greater opportunity to drive more revenue and improve your financial outcomes for your practice. Top quality means everything from flexible services, streamlined scheduling options, and high-quality care.
Offer After-Hours Virtual Visits
By offering virtual visits that occur after hours, you provide your patients with the flexibility they need to get the care they need, even at an after-hours time. As of February 2021, telehealth visits grew 38x in claims volume. By offering virtual visits after hours, you provide patients the peace of mind and care that they need even if they can’t make it into your office during the day. Your practice benefits from the additional revenue that can be billed at the time of service.
Telehealth growth according to McKinsey
Reduce Missed Appointments
Missed appointments are a big revenue sink for medical practices. When patients miss appointments, your practice loses revenue on that missed appointment’s time slot. Read up here on our valuable tips for reducing patient no-shows to help improve revenue collections.
Provide High-Quality Care
Providing the highest quality care and ensuring your patients are satisfied and living their healthiest lives is a surefire way to improve revenue collections. If your practice is cutting corners or trying to find ways to offer service in a cheaper way, patients will notice a decrease in service quality. If a patient is dissatisfied with their care or service, they are more likely to dispute a payment or avoid it altogether.
Improve Your Patient Payments Collections Process
In recent years, patients’ financial responsibility for their healthcare has steadily risen. This challenges patients who simply want to get the care they need but may not be able to afford. It simultaneously challenges medical providers and their ability to collect the revenue that they’re owed in a timely manner.
In order to help your practice mitigate this challenge, providing options, clarity, and transparency in your collections process can help your patients pay for their care and your practice receive the money you’re due.
Implement a Clear, Consistent, and Documented Collections Process
A patient should receive crystal-clear instructions on what the collections process is. Ensure all staff members provide consistent directions that are straightforward and documented for your patients.
Transparency Prior to Treatment
Before treating a patient, ensure they know what their financial obligations are to mitigate any surprises. Full transparency into what a patient will need to pay for, as well as if their insurance covers their care, will help ensure you are paid in full.
Act on Unpaid Claims
Instruct your office staff to stay on top of unpaid claims. Be proactive about following up with claims that are not paid in full.
Provide Varying Payment Options
By providing varying payment options, your patient population will be able to pay for your services in the way that fits their lifestyle best.
Collect Payments Up Front
Collect your payments at the point of service. Ideally, patients will walk out having paid in full, and you won’t have to chase down collections in the coming weeks.
NCDS SOLUTION: Ask NCDS for a sample Patient Financial Statement or for assistance to customize and update your payment policies so patients understand the terms and expectations up front.
Work with a Successful Medical Billing Solutions Provider
Partnering with a Medical Billing Provider with a proven track record can help put you on the path to maximizing your revenue cycle management and improving your collections, as well as ensuring patient satisfaction. Contact NCDS Medical Billing to get started today!
Sign up to receive our insights straight to your inbox!