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The Four Points of Upfront Collections

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Requesting money from a sick patient for some people seems insensitive, however, it must be understood that health care costs money. Although it may be a touchy topic, collecting upfront payment from your patients is a necessary aspect that needs to be addressed.

For your medical facility to continue it's ability to offer quality health care, there must be a process in place to collect deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance. One part of that process should include collecting payment prior to services being rendered. Patient responsibility makes up a substantial percentage of the revenue collected by the medical office and should not be taken for granted.

Develop an Upfront Collections Policy

Accuracy and consistency along with a system for determining and collecting patient responsibility is key for your upfront collection policy.

Teach Proper Collection Techniques

The second step is to train your medical office staff on the proper techniques of collecting payment from your patients. Make sure they understand the importance of collecting revenue. Health care costs are expensive and ever rising. In order to stay open for business, collective efforts must be made to collect revenue from the insurance companies and patients. Requiring payment to be paid at the time services are rendered lowers bad debt and keeps cost down for everyone especially the patients.

Educate Patients of Their Financial Responsibility

The third step is to educate patients of their financial responsibility. Patients are your customers and should be treated as such. No one can go to the grocery store, put food in their cart and tell the grocery store to bill them later. This same notion should be adopted in your office. Except in emergency situations, patients should come to expect that they will be asked and expected to pay their portion of the bill at the time services are rendered.

Offer Financial Assistance

Lastly, your medical office should have a charity program or financial assistance program in place for your uninsured or underinsured patients. This will allow your facility to offer health care to patients that cannot afford to pay the total expense out of pocket. You can assist patients in finding community or government resources to help pay their bills or offer no interest payment plans. Be sure to request a deposit or good faith payment.

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