5 Things Every e-MDs Front Desk Person Should Do To Maximize Revenue: Part 3
Our e-MDs Front Desk Tips journey continues!! Now that we are running patient eligibility and applying our findings, we are free and clear towards maximized revenue, right? BZZZZZ!! (Wrong answer, but we do have some fabulous parting gifts for you. Johnny?)
Unfortunately, we are only part of the way there. The next step is to actually collect some money! We do that by collecting the balance they owe (See Part 1) and any copay they might owe for today’s visit. When should this be done? The simple answer is BEFORE they are seen by the provider. Most practices DO collect the copay prior to the patient being seen. If your practice is one of those, congrats! Make sure you print a receipt for them and you are good to go until Part 4.
For those practices that are not currently collecting your copays up front, why not? For the reasons we mentioned in Part 2, you can’t afford to let a patient walk out without paying for services rendered. The days of “we’ll just send you a bill” are long gone. Practices are functioning on ever shrinking reimbursement and growing expenses. Cash flow is vital to a practice’s operational capabilities. A quick look at the numbers shows this dramatic impact. Let’s say one of your providers sees 5 Cigna/Blue Cross/Aetna/UHC patients per day, each with a $35.00 Copay. If each of those patients walks out without paying their copay that is $175.00 of delayed if not lost revenue. If you multiply that by 21.7 business days per month and then multiply that by 12 months during the year, you end up with a whopping $45,570.00 per provider per year. That is very significant and represents, at a minimum, a full-time employee’s salary and benefits. You can’t afford not to collect it.
So, if you’re not collecting up front now, what should you do to make the transition? It won’t be easy. If patients have been walking out of the door for years or even months (for a new practice), they will not be excited to now start paying before they can be seen. We would encourage you to perform the following steps:
- Send out a brief letter to patients, telling them the new policy AND the reason for the policy change. Let them know they can contact a specific person at the practice if they have questions.
- Use patient notification/reminders to reinforce the communication. When your automated appointment reminder calls, set up a memo about the new policy before you remind the patient of the appointment time.
- When making new appointments, use the information from Part 1 of this series to explain if they owe a balance. Here’s the script we used, “And just to let you know, there is a $58.00 balance due on your account. You’ll need to take care of that you’re your $35.00 copay before we can see you tomorrow, ok?”
- Place a sign in the check in window that reads, “Balances and Copays are due at time of service.” Here’s a link for a sample sign: https://www.freeprintablemedicalforms.com/preview/Copay_Sign
- Include a note about the policy change on the patient statements that are sent out.
Copays and payments are a vital portion of your practice’s financial health. Collect them before the patient is seen and your practice’s bank account will thank you!
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