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6 Steps to Collecting From Patients Before & During Registration

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6 Steps to Collecting From Patients Before & During Registration

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Medical collections

Medical practices leave a startling $125 billion uncollected every year due to poor collections practices. If you think your practice isn’t responsible for even a dollar of that number, you’re probably wrong. Even if you’ve instituted a medical collections overhaul at your practice, it’s likely that some money is being uncollected that you haven’t followed up on because the staff is busy and some things just fell through the cracks.

To plug the revenue leaks that are occurring as part of your medical collections process, institute some of these six best practices.

1. Collect Insurance Details During Scheduling

When a patient calls to make an appointment, it’s essential that you collect their insurance details at that time. If you don’t, you’ll have no way to call the insurer and verify their coverage. Although it takes more time to get this data from the patient during their initial contact with your team, you can consider that time well spent that helps your collections rate skyrocket.

2. Verify Coverage

Once the appointment scheduling team collects the insurance information, it’s time to verify the patient’s coverage. This may be handled by the scheduler or another member of the team, but it must be done no matter what. Get information to confirm that the patient is in network, ensure that their coverage hasn’t expired, and get their coinsurance, deductible and copayment information.

3. Calculate Charges

Once you know why the patient is coming to your office (because your appointment scheduler should have asked their complaint) and what their eligibility is, it should be easy for you to calculate what they owe when they present for their appointment. Someone in your practice should be getting that information into the patient’s chart and putting it in a prominent place so whoever checks them in will see it.

4. Issue Appointment Reminders

Whether your patients prefer appointment reminders via text, email or phone call, it’s important to make contact and confirm that the patient will be presenting for their appointment. You’ll lose a lot of money if no-shows occur, and this is a simple way to prevent them.

5. Collect at Registration

When the patient does come in for their appointment, it’s time to collect what they owe. For instance, if you’re a primary care practice and you know the patient has a $30 copay for every sick visit, you can charge them that $30 when they check in. This is also a good time to address any existing balances from prior visits and collect for those as well.

6. Recalculate at Check-Out

Even after you’ve collected a patient’s copay and existing balance, you may still have more to collect after they see the provider. This may include charges for coinsurance or for services they wanted that aren’t covered by the payer. Now that those services have been rendered, you can ask them to pay the balance before they walk out the door.

Looking for more ways to plug revenue leaks at your practice? Practice management expert Owen Dahl, LFACHE, CHBC, LSSMBB can walk you through the best ways to bring in more cash during his FREE webinar, Plug Up Revenue Leaks to Achieve a 99% Clean Claims Rate. Sign up today!

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