5 Ways to Avoid Collections in a Dermatology Practice
- Start Before the Appointment: Before your patients even arrive at your practice for their appointment, you should verify their insurance coverage and inform them that their copay will be due at the time of the appointment. Explain all of your payment options clearly. It’s a great idea to come up with a simple script that your schedulers can use when setting up appointments and when making reminder calls so that you can avoid collections in a dermatology practice.
- Keep It Clear: If you don’t establish your expectations with each patient, it’s not fair to expect them to be met. Many patients are completely blindsided when they hear how much they are responsible for or receive an invoice in the mail. Make sure that you are transparent and explain to patients how your dermatology practice charges their insurance company and what their portion of the cost will be.
- Accept Many Payment Types: One of the best ways to avoid collections in a dermatology practice is by accepting a broad range of payment types. If you require a check and your patient doesn’t have a checkbook in hand, how will they give you prompt payment? They won’t! It’s a great idea to accept credit cards, checks, cash and even newer payment types like Venmo and PayPal. Payment plans are another way to break down large amounts into more palatable ones that can be paid off over time without heading to collections.
- Track the Process: Another way to avoid collections in a dermatology practice is tracking every step of the billing and payment process carefully. If you keep good records, you will be able to regularly remind patients with outstanding invoices of their obligation and not wait until 60 or 120 days have passed. You can even send reminders before a day or two before a due date so an invoice never even hits the overdue threshold.
- Offer Incentives: Everyone loves feeling like they are getting a discount, and offering a 5% discount for patients who pay at the time of service or within a certain number of days of receiving their invoice is a great way to avoid collections in a dermatology practice. This amount is negligible to you when you consider all of the time spent re-sending invoices, calling to follow up and starting the collections process your employees will save. You can also get creative and think of other ways to reward your patients for paying their invoices on time. For instance, you could offer a discount on another service or give away a free product. Patients will be excited to feel like they are getting a deal, and you will have payment faster than ever.