1. Develop an efficient process. Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Voithofer say it's important that staff view the collections process as "a well-defined set of steps to follow consistently." They recommend creating a set of simple steps and training each and every staff member the "end-to-end" process — everything from the first patient contact at the surgeon's office through the final payment.
2. Make the process patient-centric. Making sure patients are aware of their financial responsibilities is important because they're often more focused on clinical issues the day of the procedure. "This means that the center needs to assume a proactive role in talking to patients about payment alongside the clinical information. You can never start too early in the process," they wrote. They recommend talking with patients about payment when the procedure is scheduled.
3. Ensure staff is well-trained and in the right positions. Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Voithofer say that in order for the patient-centric process to work, staff has to be well-trained and have the right skills and education to effectively follow the defined processes. They say it's helpful to create a list of the skills and responsibilities required for each role on your team. For example, the scheduler, front desk staff and A/R follow-up staff must each be able to ask for a payment effectively, while only a coder needs ASC coding knowledge.
4. Offer the patient payment options. In order to make it easier for patients to pay their portion, offer them options to pay, Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Voithofer say. These include a credit card, any available financing options or even payment plans. It's also very helpful for patients to have an estimate of how much they'll owe going into the procedure. In many cases, you can even collect a good faith estimate of what the patient owes at time of surgery. A 2009 McKinsey study found that two-thirds of patients are willing to pay a good faith estimate of their obligation at time of service.
5. Don't get burned by repeat non-paying patients. With an increase in high deductible plans and general economic challenges, more patients are having their bills sent to collections, and this will often lead an ASC to eventually write-off unpaid co-pays and deductibles. Considering patients can be repeat customers to an ASC, some non-paying patients will eventually return. "There's nothing worse than having someone you did a procedure for never pay, and now you're seeing them again and you're likely just going to take another hit," says Mr. Voithofer.
He recommends developing a policy and procedure followed by schedulers where the scheduler looks on a list within your billing system and identifies if a patient previously had a balance the ASC wrote off or is currently in the active collections process. "Then have the [scheduler] educate patients that they're not having another procedure unless they pay the outstanding balance, and remember to avoid any issues which could be classified as abandonment," says Mr. Voithofer. "Putting this tool in place is easy and could generate significant revenues — it can be a few hundred dollars written off with each account, and that adds up very quickly."
Related Articles on Billings and Collections:
Utah Senate Approves Bill to Align State Health Insurance Mandates With Private Sector
Physician Organizations Concerned Over State Minimum Health Coverage Standards
Deadlines Loom for State Participation in Health Insurance Exchanges
5 Tips for a More Efficient ASC Collections Process from AdvantEdge Healthcare SolutionsWritten by Abby Callard | Friday, 17 February 2012 22:33
Here are 10 tips to implementing a more efficient and successful ASC collections process from Bill Gilbert, vice president of marketing; and Brice Voithofer, vice president of ASC services, AdvantEdge Healthcare Solutions.
© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2016. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies here.
Most Read - Billing & Coding
Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months
- 22 spine surgeon leadership awards | 2016
- Has Xenco Medical Ushered in the Future of Spine Surgery?
- Orthopedic surgeons generate $2.7M for affiliated hospitals; 5.5 times what they make — 5 survey findings
- Where global spine market leaders are headed: 7 key notes on Medtronic, DePuy Synthes, Stryker & more
- Novel technologies make a splash in outpatient spine setting — Dr. Nick Shamie weighs in
- 21 smart spine surgeons with gifted business minds
- PODs under attack again: 5 key notes from the Senate Finance Committee's report
- Top 12 most-liked spine surgeons on the internet
- Siemens, Ziehm, GE, Hologic, OrthoScan & Medtronic: 26 O-arm & C-arm systems
- Consumer Reports: 34 top-rated US hospitals for hip replacements
- Dr. George Rappard performs 1st US MIS procedure with Sony heads-up display: 5 observations
- Orthopedic surgeons leave Salina Regional over on-call payment dispute: 5 things to know
- Andrews Institute adds regenerative medicine, stem cell center: 5 things to know
- Zimmer Biomet to acquire LDR in $1B transaction — 9 things to know
- Annual & hourly orthopedic surgeon salary — 10 latest statistics
- ISSCR updates stem cell research guidelines; warns against stem cell medical tourism — 5 insights
- The low hanging fruit of HIPAA compliance: 8 best practices
- Trusting a robot — Dr. Juan Torres-Reveron on performing 1st US ROSA Spine surgery
- 44 MIS spine devices to know | 2016
- How Responsive Orthopedics defied the industry norm to make knee, hip devices more affordable — 6 key insights
- Paradigm Spine pays $585k in False Claims Act settlement; denies allegations: 5 things to know
- 87% of solo practitioners to face MIPS penalty in 2019 — 6 statistics on how Medicare's new payment model may impact solo physicians & small practices
- 20 new MIS spine devices in 2016
- Surgeon entrepreneur: Dr. Kern Singh's quest to make lateral spine surgery more accessible
- 5 key notes on the Zimmer Biomet-LDR acquisition & its impact on Texas
- 12 statistics on social media's presence in the healthcare space
- MIS spine's promising future — Key insights from SMISS President Dr. Greg Anderson
- UPMC to pay $2.5M+ to settle neurosurgery-related False Claims Act violation allegations: 7 things to know
- 5 key points on Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush's bundled payments making healthcare affordable & transparent
- US News & World Report: Top 10 hospitals for orthopedics
- Oregon spine surgeon implicated in $22M lawsuit for paralyzing patient with dropped instrument: 5 things to know
- Bundled payments to account for 30%-45% of spine reimbursement in 3 years: 4 insights
- 'Spare the scalpel' — Dr. Brian Cole sheds light on the future of orthopedic medicine in TEDx Talk
- 7 things to know about Mazor Robotics & Medtronic's plans to roll out Mazor X
- 4 North Carolina orthopedic practices merge to create EmergeOrtho: 5 key notes
- The state of minimally invasive spine surgery: Dr. Frank Phillips on devices, payment & outpatient ASCs
- Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Russin dies following plane crash: 5 key notes
- Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic to pay $750k in potential HIPAA violation: 5 things to know
- How did 5 orthopedic device giants fare in the most recent fiscal period? 45 notes on Stryker, Medtronic & more
- Zimmer Biomet jumps into robotics with MedTech acquisition: 5 things to know