Accounts Receivable Solutions for Medical Providers: How to Improve Your Cash Flow
Patients are increasingly responsible for paying healthcare expenses out of pocket. Uninsured and underinsured patients pay more slowly than insurance companies, often causing cash flow issues for medical providers. As a result, medical providers need accounts receivable solutions that improve cash flow for their medical practice and help them focus on caring for patients.
Data obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics tells us that 25 percent of American families have at least one unpaid medical bill. The good news is, there are ways to help both the patients and physicians, such as yourself. Medical practices and health systems need to simply utilize accounts receivable solutions to reduce the accounts receivable they carry.
Make Billing Convenient for Patients
Brainstorm ways to make bill payments more convenient for patients. In order to make billing easier for them, you should consider avenues they might prefer, make sure they understand their bills, and automate payment reminders to help them remember to always pay on time. Consequently, this will improve your practice’s cash flow.
Help Patients Understand Their Invoice
When someone doesn’t understand a bill, they may put it off because it seems easier to imagine it does not exist. This hesitation can add stress for your patient and your staff. Terms used in medical invoices are not common vocabulary for most patients, and the last thing you want is to leave them feeling stuck and confused. Instead, reach out to establish trust while also getting paid on time.
When it comes to perplexed patients, customer service and billing staff are the first line of defense. They need a clear understanding of what billing codes mean so they can explain them to patients. You want your patients to feel confident their questions will be answered when they call the number on their invoice.
See to it that whoever picks up the phone on your end has the answers to build the trust your patients need. It may also benefit you to include billing frequently asked questions on your website. Have educational material available—such as clarifications about insurers, coinsurance, deductibles, and copays.
Allow Electronic Payments
A significant number of patients have reported that they find it more convenient to pay online rather than dealing with mailing checks. When the right accounts receivable solutions are set up, electronic billing allows patients to conveniently access everything they need for invoice payments. They can simply log in, see how much they owe and for what, and then quickly send funds via credit card or bank account. In fact, studies show that the collection of patient bills increased by about 30 percent in one year—and collecting through a patient portal increased user engagement by 77 percent.
Send Automated Billing Reminders
A patient-centered, self-service culture will further help your patients feel engaged and increase patient return rates. You want people coming back to you because their experience was memorable—in a good way. You want to leave the impression that you go the extra mile to deliver quality care and a smooth and pleasant experience every time.
Utilizing technology makes bill payments far less painful than traditional avenues. Strive to keep everything in one place—from online appointment scheduling to reminders. Sometimes, it’s not that patients are evading a payment; it’s that other responsibilities come up, and they simply forget. This can cost you, but if you charge a late fee, it might hurt the patient-doctor relationship. Both patient and employee satisfaction are crucial, and with the modern healthcare technology available today, there is no excuse to let archaic methods burden your patients.
Set up your website or third-party scheduling vendor to enable patients to receive texts, emails, or other messages via their preferred communication avenue. You can even consider offering a way to check insurance eligibility in real time before you delve too deep into a service. Not everyone likes snail mail or phone calls anymore, which brings us to our next tip.
Allow Patients to Pay With Their Preferred Method
The goal here is to provide convenience for your patients. If you want to keep them—and continue to be paid promptly and adequately every time—take into consideration which payment platform works best for them.
If they have a preference, listen. Making patients feel heard is especially important when it comes to complete and on-time bill payments. If they want to pay over the phone or online with a credit card from the comfort of their living room, that shouldn’t be a problem.
As mentioned, bill payments can happen in many digital forms. Patients might consider the way you’ve been billing them to be cumbersome and favor a different method instead. Or, you might be sending the bill via a method they simply do not check often—if at all. If you’re using an outdated method, it may look like you do not care enough to take their wants and needs into consideration, which is not the best look when you want to provide second-to-none customer service.
You could also end up looking like you are not on top of the ever-changing times. Don’t let your competitors appear more intriguing because they offer cutting-edge services that reach beyond their direct medical services. Having innovative accounts receivable solutions will keep you top of mind for potential patients.
Use Technology and Automation to Address Denied Claims
In 2016, 270 billion hospital claims across the nation were initially denied. Denial write-offs seem to only continue to increase. Administrative costs necessary to work the claims are approaching nearly $9 billion. On average, 65 percent of denials are never even resubmitted or corrected. Two thought leaders from Healthcare Financial Resources say too many hospitals and healthcare vendors are still using antiquated, traditional approaches of handling claim issues. Amping up the manual labor factor is not going to solve this problem when the aim is to focus on making the workload more streamlined for employees.
Over 90 percent of claims are deemed preventable, and thus, it is firmly believed that introducing automation and updated technologies for the processing of claims can help decrease denial write-offs. This is projected to also cut administrative costs, as it allows more claims to be classified and distributed to the appropriate organization’s remediation team (based on denial category), and also develops—through the automation tool—a summary of total relevant claim information.
Action items can then be put together for staff. In a time of shrinking revenue and spiking costs for healthcare organizations like yours, accounts receivable solutions like automation can and should be utilized to help overloaded staff handle claims, expedite insurance recovery, and increase overall efficiency.
Accounts Receivable Solutions for Personal Injury
Choosing the right accounts receivable solutions can help give your bottom line the lift it needs while decreasing stress and frustration for you, your employees, and your patients. Save money, time, and resources when you use a third party that knows how to handle it all for you. Some companies make it possible for medical providers to actually sell their existing lien receivables and convert them to cash. They absorb the risk so you can focus on what you do best—caring for patients.
To see how the ideal accounts receivable solutions can benefit your facility, download our FREE resource, Medical Professionals: Use This Self-Assessment Checklist and Discover How Your Personal Injury Case Processes Can Improve. There, you will learn more about how this invaluable tool can be a reality for you and your healthcare organization.