Like most healthcare professionals, you do what you do because you want to help people overcome their challenges. But your time as a physical therapist is valuable and you need to be paid for that time. You also know how frustrated patients can get with insurance companies that no longer cover as much as they once did, or charge much more for the same coverage. Therefore, point of service collections have become a growing reality for Physical Therapist Practitioners – sometimes for a portion of a patient’s bill, or maybe for all of it. Indeed, roughly 21% of balances aren’t collected at all if they’re not collected upfront at the point of service. This can be a potentially uncomfortable situation, but with some helpful strategies, you can make it less painful and get paid.
Verify, Verify, Verify
Before the first appointment, help a patient out by doing some legwork for them by verifying their insurance eligibility. The last thing you want is not to be paid at all and the last thing they want is to be out of pocket. Go through their insurance coverage with a fine-tooth comb and relay to the patient if there will be a co-pay as well as what services will and won’t be covered. Then you and the patient can be confident about insurance remittance and/or paying at the point of service.
Provide a Cost Estimate
One way to avoid asking for a point of service collection is to estimate cost of services. The moment you know the patient’s insurance provider, you can research their plan and what it will cover of your services. This way, when you make initial contact with that patient, you can give them an accurate estimate of what their responsibility will be.
Your Expectations and Communication
Patients dislike healthcare providers that do not communicate with them properly. You should explain as early as possible what it is you expect from your patient, not only in commitment to the process, but also in regards to how much out of pocket expenses it will incur to them and when you will expect the payment. Make sure your staff knows you service collection or payment policy, as well as how to properly inform patients. This will help them be prepared for point of service collections and not fear them.
Technology Eases Collection
One of the biggest issues regarding a point of service collection is how uncomfortable it can be asking someone for money. Technology used appropriately can be a helpful tool for making a situation more businesslike and less like a personal matter. Check-in/check-out kiosks are great because they can collect co-pays and other payments – including outstanding payments – without embarrassment or conflict.
For many practices, the term ‘financing’ is often looked at as a dirty word. But the reality is that people need help.By offering financing options for your patients, you can be paid immediately. Just be sure to have a good PT collections service working with you to ensure physical therapy patients make good on their overdue balances and have plans in place to pay them off. Reports show that practices that have financing options and appropriate collections help outperform practices that do not by 74%.
Payment Info on File
It may seem like a no-brainer to save patients’ payment information, but it’s amazing how many physical therapy practitioners don’t. Sometimes patients forget their purses, wallets, and so on. By keeping their banking information for direct payments, as well as credit/debit card details and alternative payment methods, you can be paid at the point of service with no delay. Point of service collections can be tricky and sensitive, no doubt. Have good plans in place and remember to ask the advice of a PT billing and collection service provider for how you can ensure your practice’s revenue levels are always at their best. Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Jet PT Billing and a clickable link back to this page.Tags: physical therapy collections, point of service collections healthcare, point of service physical therapy