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The Do's and Don'ts of Patient Collections Practices

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In recent years, the entire health care industry has become more aggressive in their collection practices. With the ever-rising costs associated with health care, it is extremely important to the livelihood of any facility to get the maximum reimbursement which largely relies on patient payments.

Deductibles, copays and coinsurance amounts can add up to lots of dollars loss if sufficient efforts are not made to collect these out of pocket expenses from your patients. Collecting the patient responsibility is just as important as collecting from the insurance companies. But when does aggressive collection procedures cross the line to delivering poor customer service?

Here are some collection Do's and Don'ts.

Do

Advise patients prior to their visit of your collection policy preferably during scheduling.

Make sure you have signs posted in your office advising patients of your collection procedures.

Offer discounts for patients as an incentive to pay their bills in a timely manner.

Make available different payment options for patients that have high out of pocket expenses.

Require patients to make "good faith" payments.

Don't

Let patients continue to accrue bills they cannot pay for unless it is an emergency.

Send accounts to collections without providing adequate time for patients to make payment arrangements.

Ignore delinquent bills. Once services have been provided, patients don't have the urgency to pay without some prompting.

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