The Fourth Deadly Sin for Medical Practices
It has been awhile since I started listing what we consider to be the Seven Deadly Sins for Medical Practices. Today we’re going to address the Fourth Sin. This one will kill a practice… not collecting copays before the patient leaves.
We have seen many practices that don’t verify that the patient has a copay, how much it may be, and don’t accept credit card payments. These are habits that will destroy an office’s cash flow. First, figure it costs about $7.00, according to industry standards, to send out a patient statement. This includes the employee time, the postage, the statement, etc. So, if the copay is $15.00 (for example), you’ve lost half of it because you sent out a statement.
Secondly, not checking on their cards if there is a copay or not checking in your practice management system that their insurance charges a copay means you lose the chance to collect up to $40.00 per visit per each patient that comes in to your office. Say that one third of your patients have copays that average to $15.00 per patient and you see 25 patients per day. That means you are not collecting a possible $120.00 when you can do it essentially for free. If you then have to send patient statements out AND the patient actually pays it after receiving the first statement you’ve only lost $56.00 of the possible $120.00. Then, if you have to send more than one statement you can see how that $120.00 can be eaten up entirely within 2 months.
There are many ways a patient can pay: cash, check or credit card/debit card/HSA card (aka “plastic”). If your practice does not have the ability to accept the different forms of plastic, you are doing yourself AND the patient a disservice. There are many avenues to collect “plastic” payments and some are much more cost effective than others. Due to many of the new bank laws, it can sometimes be a bit of a bother setting it up, but it is well worth any initial hassle. If you are only collecting $300.00 per month via “plastic”, and your average patient statement or copay is $15.00, you are collecting from 20 patients which means you are saving $140.00. The dollars add up and if your average bills are higher to your patients, the dollars add up more quickly.
Please don’t handcuff your practice by not collecting copays up front and by not accepting credit/debit/HSA cards for payment of any balance.
If you want ideas of where to look for good credit card accepting options, how to look for copay amounts owed or any other practice management issues, please call us at our toll free number of 800-795-1794 or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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