Going Green and Getting the Cash
According to Shannon Doyle, an independent consultant for the MGMA Health Care Consulting Group on March 9, 2009, the continued growth of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts has caused medical practices to increasingly rely on front-desk personnel to collect from patients.
Three Modern Collections Rules
The following medical practice procedures will markedly increase upfront office collections:
- Train staff to handle exceptions. What is your policy if the patient payment is significant? Will you allow 25% payments—one today and three over the next three months? Communicate your policy to all staff. What will you do if a patient shows up without an insurance card? There will be other exceptions. Train employees to call the appropriate practice-management contact when an exception does not fit in the categories you provide and make sure those managers are responsive.
- Understand that not everyone will shine in collections. The value of this new front-desk function should be reflected in job descriptions and wages. Track staff performance and hold employees accountable for collection goals. The most successful practices collect in the 90% range.
- Provide professional signage that states your basic policy: “Payments are due at time of service.” Avoid typewritten, lengthy explanations taped to walls or desks that look like clutter.
Furthermore, Mr. Doyle suggested that physician-executives and office managers recognize that significant changes in front-desk procedure require staff training. But, even before that, you must develop a template to help employees quickly get the information they need.
For example, according to Rachel Pentin-Maki; RN, MHA of www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com make and update a matrix-guide reflecting the health plans that cover 80% of office patients. Include each plan’s variable components like co-insurance, deductibles and services that require pre-authorization. Then, create a list of names and phone numbers for staff to verify coverage and amounts. Be sure to include examples of plans’ insurance cards and highlight the pertinent information. By following these few guidelines, it is hoped that collection percentages can be improved in the challenging future.
Does this post change the meaning of the term “going green?”
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Filed under: Career Development, Health Insurance, iMBA, Practice Management Tagged: | cash medical practice, cash value practice, HDHPs, Health Insurance, health savings account, HSAs, Inc., institute of medical business advisors, medical savings account, MSAs, rachel pentin-maki