Whether it is working with a medical collection agency or carrying out billing efforts in-house, healthcare professionals know that collection calls are crucial to the stability of their organizations’ accounts receivables. This is because, in order for a medical business to stay afloat, physicians must get paid for services rendered. Making collection calls, however, can be daunting for inadequately trained collectors. By following these tips from experienced healthcare debt collection professionals, employees will be able to feel at ease dialing patients and can successfully collect on past due accounts.
- Make sure you are talking to the right person: The first and most important step when making a collection call is verifying that the person you are speaking to is authorized on the account. To confirm that you are speaking to the correct person, ask them to verify demographic information, such as address or date of birth.
- Let the patient know who you are and where you are calling from: As soon as you verify that you are talking to the correct person, identify yourself and let the patient know where you are calling from. It is important that the patient knows this from the get-go.
- Request that the patient pays their bill in full: Before you offer to negotiate a payment plan, inform the patient of the amount of money they owe, and ask them to pay their bill in full. Asking a question such as, “How will you be paying this today?” can be much more effective than, “How much are you able to pay?” At this time, you should also inform the patient of the different methods of payment that your organization accepts: “For your convenience, we accept checks and all major credit cards.”
- Take on the role of ‘problem solver’: A patient might offer excuses about whey they are unable to make payments; however, your job is not to focus on why the patient cannot pay. Instead, you should act as a problem solver and focus on what you can do to help the patient pay their debt. If you suggest a monthly payment, and the patient claims the amount is too steep, offer to help with budgeting and have them walk you through their monthly expenses. Reaching a compromise with the patient will be more beneficial to both parties than if you take an all-or-nothing stance.
- Make a note of what you and the patient discussed: Once you reach an agreement with the patient, ask them to repeat the specifics about when they plan to pay and how much. Let the patient know that you are documenting this information in your system. For example, “I am making a note that you will be making your first monthly payment on the 15th.” Not only will this information be stored in your system for future reference, but it reinforces to the patient that you will be expecting a payment from them on that date as promised.
For more healthcare debt collection tips and revenue cycle resources, visit www.arlogix.com.