Focus On Time-of-Service Collections for Steady Cash Flow This Year

Congratulations, your practice survived the month of January!  While survival hopefully was never in doubt for your practice, January is typically the worst cash-receipt month of the year for many practices.  Considering annual patient deductibles that reset January 1, coverage changes for patients and winter weather, it is no wonder that January is a challenging month.  While no one can control the weather, there are some tools available to help control and improve patient payments as we leave the January blues behind.

As the patient is responsible for an ever-growing portion of their health care bills, the more that can actually be collected from them during the office visit, the better off your practice will be in the long run.    Prior to the appointment, your practice should utilize new online tools that let you confirm insurance coverage, review co-insurance and pre-certification information and allow for the investigation of where a patient currently stands in terms of their annual deductible.  Knowing this information at the date of service and collecting the deductible and expected co-insurance at that time can be a game changer for many practices.  Time-of-service collections can be a delicate topic for staff and patients alike.  Front desk staff must be trained to handle these responsibilities while managing patient satisfaction.

You should also make sure your patients have payment options.  The increased popularity of high-deductible plans can cause patients to delay treatment until they have the funds available.  Therefore, consider offering options that allow for payments to be made over time. Take advantage of services like CareCredit, that can shift the credit risk and patient portals that allow patients to pay online.    Patients that are informed about the cost of their treatment and offered convenient payment methods will keep your cash flow steady.

Sax’s Healthcare advisors help to improve key areas of your practice for overall success.  Feel free to reach out at (973) 472-6250.

Tod A. Christianson is a partner at Sax and a member of the firm’s Healthcare Practice.  He is also a member of Sax’s Manufacturing & Distribution Practice and Employee Benefit Plans Audit Group, specializing in 401(k) plan audits.  Tod can be reached at [email protected].

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