The new year is always a time to evaluate your business and think about how you’re going to grow. Whether you typically make new year’s resolutions or not, after the whirlwind of 2020, it makes good business sense to consider ways to improve the sustainability of your practice.
Because revenue and sustainability are so intertwined, reviewing your practice finances and financial processes is where you want to start making improvements. We’ve put together our top 5 tips to help you boost your billing and collections in 2021.
1. Educate your patients
- Most patients don’t understand their medical aid coverage – what is covered, what isn’t and why. The lack of understanding can sometimes have repercussions for your practice when patients are surprised and frustrated by unexpected invoices. Ensure your staff know how to talk to patients about co-payments, medical savings and why claims are sometimes denied. Your patients will appreciate the information.
- It’s understandable that when your focus is on a patient’s health and wellness, educating them about their medical aid cover can fall by the wayside. Consider printing a simple flyer that explains the basics that apply to most medical aids. Include contact details for the most popular medical schemes and leave the flyers in various places around the waiting room.
2. Communicate with patients effectively and timeously
- Your front-of-office staff can make a huge difference to collections with proper training on how to talk to patients about invoices. You are more likely to collect payments in full when you invoice patients immediately after their appointment. Ensure that staff are equipped to request payment politely and professionally at the time of service.
- In instances when patients need more time to pay, your staff can invoice them and follow up digitally by email and automated SMS reminders. Be sure that they also communicate the various payment methods you have available, and when necessary – what payment plans you offer.
3. Claim in real-time
- Submit claims at the time of service. This is one of the most powerful ways to improve your cash flow and revenue. Sending claims in batches retrospectively makes it less likely that you will collect payment in full and in good time.
- Submitting claims in real-time also streamlines processes when dealing with queries and resubmissions, and as a result, reduces the admin burden on front office staff.
4. Verify medical aid information
- Performing a benefit check before and at every patient visit should be a standard procedure at your medical practice. Having the information about a patient’s coverage is useful when communicating co-payments, for example.
- When verifying medical aid information, it’s a good time to confirm that the patient’s contact details are correct. Patients sometimes forget to update their details when they change jobs, move to a new house and/or switch mobile numbers. Ensuring the correct details will mean invoices are more likely to be received and settled.
- Implement automated SMS payment reminders to nudge patients who are late to pay.
5. Review your contracts
- Take some time at the beginning of the year to review your contracts with medical aids. Make note of any changes from the previous year and how it may affect your workflow, processes, or staff when it comes to training.
- Create a calendar of filing deadlines and when contracts need to be reviewed and/or renewed so you can plan any renegotiations.
No one could escape the unexpected changes that made history in 2020. For business owners, it was a chance to re-engineer their ‘business as usual’ into something more agile and sustainable. Implementing these 5 tips will get you off to a good start when it comes to growing your business in 2021. Combine that with having a trusted technology partner to go the distance with you, you are ready to run an efficient, profitable medical practice this year and beyond.
Healthbridge is the technology partner of choice for over 5 000 private medical practices. Find out more about how we can help you grow your business by clicking here.
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