No one likes hunting someone down in order to get paid for an outstanding bill. It's time consuming, and can honestly be a little awkward at times. But, it's also a very important piece to your practice's profits, so it's important to have the right optometry billing processes in place in order to make the collections process as easy as possible on your staff and your patients. Let's take a look at 4 things you should be doing in your practice to help ensure timely payment collections.
These Optometry Billing Processes Will Help You Collect Timely Payments
Your patients should have a full understanding of the payment policies you have in place, before they even see the doctor. For example, things like an Advance Beneficiary Notice of non-coverage should be signed by the patient to verify their knowledge of being responsible for remaining charges. Or, if you have a credit card on file system, make sure that your patients are aware of the policy that their card will be charged, if needed after their visit. The most important part of any policies you have in your practice is that your patients fully understand and know what they are responsible for.
A Well-Trained Staff
If your staff isn't properly trained on your payment policies, or how they should be handling certain situations it could be adding to the problem. Having a "script" in place for responses to certain billing questions will help keep things consistent across all patients. Plus, once a patient leaves your practice without paying, the chances of collecting that payment drastically decreases.
Consistent Eligibility Checks
Having a system in place that can automatically check real-time eligibility, like a clearinghouse or practice management system will help your staff stay on top of eligibility and authorizations. And, the patient's profile will stay updated with a complete benefit profile so that the OD will know during the exam, what is covered and what isn't. Eligibility checks should be done at least 2 days before an appointment so your staff can collect additional information if needed, or if you need to discuss additional costs with the patient that might not be covered by their plan.
Payment Plan Options
In some cases, you might have patients who truly can't pay for everything upfront. Giving the option of payment plans will help your patients, and will hopefully give you a better chance at collecting their payments over time. And, your payment plans need to have clearly written agreements so there aren't any discrepancies over interest fees or other charges.