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 2017. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies here.
Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months
- Understanding the Impact of the CMS 2017 ASC Payment Rule on Spine Procedures
- 15 spine surgeons discuss techniques revolutionizing spine care
- 4 of the most pressing challenges orthopedic surgeons face in 2017
- What not to wear — Physician's attire elicits mixed responses in outpatient orthopedic centers
- Dr. Robert Watkins performs spine surgery on Patriots' Rob Gronkowski
- Behind bars for fraud: Neurosurgeon Dr. Aria Sabit receives nearly 20-year prison sentence — 8 key insights
- 6 spine physicians ranked #1 on Google - 2016
- 7 trends in healthcare digital transformation
- 9 Mayo Clinic strategies to quench the physician burnout flame
- 36 woman physician leaders to know
- Seattle Times examines Swedish-Cherry Hill's neuroscience program balance of volume & quality
- Rochester Regional Health in NY acquires Finger Lakes Bone & Joint Center: 5 key notes
- 4 spine surgeons caught in fraud — Prisoners, probationers & a fugitive
- Guilty verdict for neurosurgeon Dr. Christopher Duntsch for causing 'injury to an elderly person' — 5 things to know
- 26 latest statistics & notes on neurosurgeon salary — Hourly, annual & regional pay
- A review of 7 spine device company powerhouses in 2016
- Best & worst patient outcomes — Patients may now compare US surgeons by name
- Why the direct anterior approach for THA is the future
- Spine care in 2017: 4 spine surgeons make predictions
- Google Glass, GoPro or Panasonic HX-A100: Which is best during spine surgery? 5 key notes
- Five trends that every orthopedic professional should watch in 2017
- Swedish-Cherry Hill neuroscience chair Dr. Johnny Delashaw steps down amid investigation — 5 things to know
- What Stryker CEO Kevin Lobo said on CNBC: 7 key quotes on healthcare, business & the future
- Medtronic plans to sell medical supplies unit, Bloomberg reports: 6 key insights
- What 6 sports medicine physicians wish they would've known at the beginning of their careers
- American College of Physicians releases new guidelines for treating low back pain: 5 key points
- 16 things to know about spinal fusions
- 40 statistics on spine surgeon and neurosurgeon pay
- Dr. Kenneth Pettine: Stem cell therapy is here to stay
- Dr. Christopher Duntsch sentenced to life in prison for injuring his patients: 5 key takeaways
- Titan Spine leads push for titanium interbody device resurgence through nanotechnology differentiation
- How 10 spine surgeons are preparing their practice for a Donald Trump presidency
- 5 reasons why spine care will boom in the next decade
- 10 things to know about Stryker
- The man behind the fraud — Who is Dr. Aria Sabit?
- 5 health IT predictions for 2017
- Rothman Institute, Thomas Jefferson University & Jefferson Health open concierge spine center of excellence
- Drs. Frederick Boop, Michael Gleiber, F. Todd Wetzel & more: 90+ spine surgeons & neurosurgeons receiving honors in 2016
- DePuy Synthes earns FDA clearance for VIPER, EXPEDIUM screws: 5 highlights
- Henry Ford Health System drops out of Medicare bundled payments for joint replacement: 5 key notes