Running an orthopedic practice is not easy, and one of the biggest obstacles that your practice will encounter is often practice collections. If you cannot collect payment in a timely fashion, your practice will not have the money necessary to continue operating and employing your team. How can you improve practice collections while still preserving patient relationships?
How to Increase Your Orthopedic Practice Collections Without Ruining Patient Relationships
- Have a Payment Policy: If you don’t have a clear payment policy, it isn’t fair for you to expect patients to follow the rules. Improving your practice collections should always start with an easy-to-understand policy that all of your patients agree to. Make sure that you state a precise number of days that the patient must pay within (15 days, 30 days, 60 days) and the consequences of non-payment. Will interest be added? Will they be unable to schedule a new appointment until the balance is paid? What actions will you take? Every patient should be provided with a copy of your payment policy, and it should also be available on your website.
- Clarify payment amounts up front: It is helpful to give patients an estimate of what they are required to pay at the time of service (e.g. co-payments) when they make the appointment. If a patient is scheduled for a procedure, give them an estimate of all relevant payments ahead of time so that there are no surprises. Some patients may decide to postpone or cancel appointments if those are not currently in their budget.
- Collect Payment Immediately If Possible: Do you ask patients for payment before they leave the office at the conclusion of the appointment or wait until they go home to send a bill? If you don’t ask immediately, your practice collections percentage will suffer. One study found that only 21% of patient balances that are uncollected at the conclusion of the appointment are collected in full. It’s always best to ask for payment and offer a variety of options up front. Existing patients might not catch on at first, but after a few visits, they will understand the expectation.
- Ask for Payment: It sounds obvious, but many issues with practice collections start with discomfort asking for payment. Don’t feel embarrassed or coy about asking patients to pay for the services that they are receiving. You never need to apologize for asking for the balance that is due. Always be transparent about how much is owed, when it is owed and any outstanding balances. A restaurant isn’t embarrassed about asking for payment for dinner, so you should never feel awkward asking for payment for your services.
- Use the Right Collections Agency: Some collections agencies ask for payment in an aggressive fashion that severs the relationship between your orthopedic practice and your patients. Choose an agency with a wealth of experience working with patients. Select an agency that has experience in working accounts for orthopedic and other health care practices; an agency that is focused on preserving and patient relationships. Experience and a professional demeanor make a big difference.
Hiring a Professional Collections Agency? Alacrity Collections Is Here to Help
Alacrity Collections is proud to be a leader in debt collections since 1982 with a strong focus on healthcare accounts. Chasing overdue invoices is not an effective use of your time. Let our team help so you can work on running and growing your company. We achieve great results that are over twice the national average and treat all of our customers with dignity and respect.
Alacrity Collections’ team is well-versed in serving the medical community and supports practices from single provider to hospital size. We work tirelessly to protect your brand and improve your net returns. To learn more about our services and get in touch, please call us at 1-800-752-9663 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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