Did you know that in an estimated 85 percent of office visits, patients receive medical services without fully paying for them and without the doctor’s staff checking the financial solvency of the patient? At the Institute of Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED), our membership represents a wealth of practice experience. We know from our members that collecting fees for services rendered in a timely manner is an ongoing challenge. There are ways to improve the likelihood and speed of payment.
Get the Info You Need
The first step to ensuring timely payment is making sure your staff collects all the information necessary for processing and following up on bills. Standard protocol would include getting a completed patient information form. This form should be filled out by all new patients and those who have not been in the office for over six months. The form should include the following:
Patient’s full name, date of birth and social security number
Full name of person financially responsible for the account, address and number of years living there, phone number, previous address and number of years lived there, present employer and number of years of service, job position and address and phone number of the employer
Name, address and phone number of the nearest living relative who doesn’t live with the patient
Emergency contact’s name, address and phone number
Name of person who referred the patient
Your staff should verify that information on the form by calling the provided phone numbers and also getting a copy of the driver’s license and the front and back of the insurance card of each patient.
Make Your Policies Clear
Prior to the first time of treatment, have a patient review your payment policies and methods of payment accepted. You should have a handout that details the patient’s financial responsibility and the process for collecting payment. The patient should sign this form to show that they agree. Be sure too that your staff is fully versed in the billing and payment policies so that they can answer questions and clarify procedures.
Although these steps may seem obvious and basic, one of the biggest problems offices have when payments are delinquent are being able to contact the patient. Getting all the necessary information up front increases the chances of getting paid promptly.