Once your patients walk out the door, your chances of collecting what you’re due plummet. But there is an answer to your collection challenges. By training your front desk team to collect from your patients at both check-ins and check-outs, you can significantly improve your collection percentages.
Collections statistics are against you and your practice, but your front desk team can help you battle this challenge. It’s next to impossible to collect 80% of true self-pay responsibility. You’re battling:
- Patient healthcare spending exceeding an average of more than $10,000 per person
- Fifty percent of overall patient debt going uncollected
Getting patients to pay what they owe sounds easy enough, right? Just ask them to pay before they leave. Well, it’s just not that simple. The good news is, there is something you can do to improve your patient collections. Here are some tips to help your front desk team become masters at collections while maintaining high-quality patient service:
Note: The most important thing with any of the suggestions below is ensuring you have a clear payment policy in place that your patients sign. It can be helpful to post your payment policy at your front desk as well.
Train Front Desk Staff to Ask for Money
Asking for money can be awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some phrases your staff can use that should boost their comfort level and leave patients feeling cared for:
- “Your balance today is …”
- This straightforward statement makes it difficult for your patient to respond in any other way than offering payment.
- “Here is an envelope for you to mail your payment within 3 days …”
- This should be used only if the patient has made it clear that he unprepared to pay on the spot.
- “We accept credit cards, debit cards and checks…”
- Providing patients with a variety of options increases the likelihood that you’ll be paid.
- “There is a debit machine on the first floor …”
- If you don’t accept debit cards, this gives cashless patients a payment option.
- “Your copay is due at the time of service. We are certainly happy to send you a bill for your copay this time, but in the future, there will be a $25 administrative fee added to your total amount due.”
- This makes the patient feel good because you’ve waived the administrative fee for this first instance, but clearly informs the patient of the policy for next time.
- “If you’d like to call us with your credit card information before the close of business today, you can avoid any administrative fees.”
- Again, giving patients an option can make all of the difference in how they perceive being asked for money.
Combat Objections with Front Desk Responses
The only way to ensure your front desk staff is combating payment objections correctly is to train them. Without consistent training, you have no idea how things are being handled. Here are some responses your front desk staff can use to overcome common payment objections:
- “Just bill me after my insurance pays.”
- RESPONSE: We now have the technology to verify your benefits before submitting your claim and determining exactly what you’ll owe. Based on this, your amount due today is …..
- “I’ve never been asked to pay before.”
- RESPONSE: I understand, but our policy is to receive payment at the time of service. This helps us provide you with excellent care. How would you like to make your payment today?
- “My doctor told me not to worry about my bill.”
- RESPONSE: He may have said that, but I’m sure it’s because he was focused on your health. It’s my responsibility to work with you to resolve your account balance. How would you like to pay that today?
For your front desk to be successful at collections, they must have confidence in what they are saying. Taking some time to run through different scenarios with them can help overcome any apprehension around asking for money, and ensure that they are handling situations in the way you want.
This is where consultant and front desk collections expert, Tracy Bird, FACMPE, CPC, CPMA, CEMC, CPC-I, can help. On Wednesday, July 21st at 1pm ET, Tracy will present a 60-minute online training session, Boost Your Front Desk Patient Collections Quickly and Easily to help you maximize your patient collections at your front desk. This training will help you reduce your liability as patient out-of-pocket deductibles soar. Sign up now for this must-attend training!