Think about the preparation efforts it takes to run a marathon or complete a triathlon. Both take meticulous planning, dedicated training and encouragement from supporters in order to successfully complete them. When those steps are followed, the results are worth it. This also holds true for patient collections, which requires ongoing efforts to prepare and reap the benefits. The longer you put off training, updating processes and collecting outstanding balances, the harder it is to improve collections and total revenue cycle management (RCM).
Today’s best practice model, or ‘training plan,’ for patient collections emphasizes setting expectations and collecting payments early, with the goal of preventing bad debt and extensive A/R days. This model can increase cash on hand while also improving your overall bottom line. It enables you to spend less money and fewer resources on the back end, where follow-up calls, paper statements and third-party collection agencies can become long-term efforts. It arms your staff with a more proactive mindset, and the training to set clear financial expectations as they engage with patients.
Four necessary steps for successful patient collections include:
- Prevent collectibles
- Ask for the money today
- Collect before it becomes seriously late
- Collect delinquent accounts or cut your losses
These steps may seem simple, but like training for a marathon, they are not always easy and require dedicated efforts.