Managing Accounts Receivable at a Small Medical Practice

September 19, 2018
Running a small medical practice is anything but easy, and it’s even harder when your stack of past-due accounts is getting higher and higher. Managing accounts receivable is tricky enough when you have a packed AR department, so it’s only understandable that you’re feeling a little overwhelmed! How can you do a better job of collecting past due balances and managing your accounts receivable in a small medical practice?

Not Appealing Denied Claims

One of the most healthcare industry-specific accounts receivable challenges is denied insurance claims. Depending on the source that you use, claim denial rates can fluctuate between 10-25% of all submitted claims. Instead of chasing the money to pay for procedures for 1 in 4 patients, many medical practices don’t have the time or energy to appeal claims. Less than 2/5 of practices ever appeal a denied claim, which almost always leaves money on the table. You should work your hardest to review claims before initial submission and follow up on every denial.

Bad Debt Accumulating

A whopping 25% of the healthcare industry’s revenue now comes from patients, meaning that patients who cannot pay are growing the amount of bad debt practices are dealing with. Managing accounts receivable is no longer just about communicating with insurance companies but also communicating with patients before and after appointments. Before a patient arrives for a procedure or appointment, you should verify billing and insurance information to project out-of-pocket costs and confirm coverage.  In addition, it is helpful to have more than one phone number on file. Prior to the appointment is also a good time to alert a patient of any outstanding invoices from previous visits. You can then encourage the patient to make a payment while you have them on the phone to set up their next appointment. More and more clinics now also request payment of the basic copay at the time the patient arrives at the practice, as opposed to after the visit with the health care professional. If a patient has a past-due balance, you should also ask how a patient would like to pay instead of whether or not they would like to. “Would you like to pay by check or credit card?” gets much better results than “Would you like to pay your past-due balance?”

Make Policies and Stick to Them

Since many small practices have long-term relationships with patients, it can be hard to set policies and actually stick to them, even when it means potentially letting go of a patient. What are your standards for calling and contacting via mail before you dismiss a patient from your practice? How do you let patients know that failure to contact your office to rectify an overdue balance will have consequences (and what the consequences are)? You should have clear policies in place and make sure that your staff members and accounts receivable team are following them. You should also define when you will turn the account over to a collections partner. Remember that few things are bigger incentives to pay an overdue balance in full than a contact from a collections agency!

Partner with Alacrity Collections

If you are struggling to manage accounts receivable at your medical practice, it might be time to work with a collections partner who can turn your past due accounts around. Alacrity Collections is proud to be a leader in collections. We achieve optimal results that are over twice the national average and treat every customer with dignity and respect. We work tirelessly to protect your brand and improve your net returns. To learn more about our offerings and get in touch, please call us at 1-800-752-9663 or set up a phone appointment directly on our representative’s calendar via this link: www.calendly.com/hheemann.