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MHRCM Solutions

CALL US NOW :

(+1) 512 800 6431
(+1) 270 495 3261

MAILING ADDRESS :

sales@mhrcm.com

LOCATION ADDRESS :

Suite 101, 1250 S A W Grimes Blvd, Round Rock,
Texas - 78664, USA

5 Best Practices for Collecting Patient Payments

By  Leo John

The healthcare revenue collection systems are evolving from simple payment collections to Revenue Cycle Management like Medicare value-based purchasing, collecting patient payments, readmission restrictions, and bundled payments. Expenses are also under scrutiny and require accurate costing data.

Medical Billing systems must be freed from the backroom and become a relevant cornerstone for preparing forecasts and capacity planning models that are all in one place to enable sound planning and decision-making. Healthcare providers should seek a common understanding of the business drivers and their effect on operations and economic profitability and cost.

Implementing streamlined and versatile payment collections, rigorously verifying insurance details, offering flexible payment plans, and training staff for effective communication collectively form a comprehensive approach to navigating the complexities of collecting patient payments. This blog delves into five indispensable strategies healthcare professionals can adopt to enhance the efficiency of collecting patient payments while maintaining positive patient and healthcare-provider relationships.

Collecting Patient Payments

The Old Reimbursement Model

The traditional reimbursement model for healthcare providers primarily relied on a fee-for-service structure. Under this system, medical professionals were compensated based on the volume of services rendered. Each procedure, test, or consultation was assigned a predetermined fee, creating a straightforward but arguably unsustainable approach to healthcare compensation.

One of the major drawbacks of the old reimbursement model was its inherent focus on quantity over quality. Healthcare providers were incentivized to perform more procedures to maximize revenue collection, potentially compromising the emphasis on patient outcomes and value-based care. Additionally, this model often led to fragmented and episodic care, as services were billed separately, hindering the coordination of comprehensive patient treatment plans.

Furthermore, the fee-for-service model created challenges in collecting patient payments, as it did not inherently encourage efficiency or preventative care. The financial burden was often shifted onto patients, resulting in a system where individuals might delay or avoid necessary medical services due to concerns about out-of-pocket expenses.

As the healthcare landscape evolved and policymakers recognized the need for a more sustainable and patient-centric approach, the industry began transitioning towards alternative reimbursement models. This shift laid the foundation for the emergence of value-based care, focusing on the quality and effectiveness of services rather than the sheer volume, thus marking a departure from the limitations of the old reimbursement model.

The New Reimbursement Model

The industry has witnessed a transformative shift toward new reimbursement models in response to the evolving healthcare landscape and the imperative to enhance collecting patient payments while controlling costs. These models prioritize value-based care, focusing on the quality, efficiency, and coordination of healthcare services rather than the traditional Medical Billing. Here are five methods that represent the forefront of the new reimbursement model:

Discount from Billed Charges

While still in use, this method under the new model emphasizes negotiated discounts tied to specific quality benchmarks. Payers and providers collaborate to establish payment collections that reflect the cost-effectiveness and quality of the services rendered, ensuring a fair reimbursement structure.

Fee-for-Service

Under the new reimbursement model, fee-for-service has undergone refinements to incorporate additional cost-control and care-management components. This includes negotiated rates for procedures and services, but with an increased focus on quality metrics, patient outcomes, and revenue collection.

Value-Based Reimbursement

At the heart of the new model is value-based reimbursement, where providers are compensated based on a fee-for-service model, but with a significant emphasis on quality and efficiency. This model aligns financial incentives with delivering high-quality care, encouraging improving patient collections.

Bundled Payments

Bundled payments have become a method that encourages holistic and coordinated care. Providers receive reimbursement for specific episodes of care, promoting collaboration among healthcare professionals to optimize Revenue Cycle Management. This model, exemplified by initiatives like CMS’ Comprehensive Joint Replacement Program, discourages unnecessary services and promotes a streamlined approach to care.

Shared Savings

The savings model incentivizes providers to improve care coordination and outcomes within a designated patient population. Providers share the financial gains achieved through increased efficiency and positive patient outcomes. This approach fosters a collaborative approach to healthcare delivery.

Five Best Practices: Improve Your Patient Payment Collections

Patient payment collections are critical to maintaining a financially healthy healthcare practice. Implementing effective strategies can enhance the efficiency of the payment collection process and contribute to positive patient experiences. Here are five proven best practices to improve collecting patient payments:
Improve Patient Payment Collection

1. Accurate Collection of Patient Contact and Insurance Information

When patients initiate contact for appointments, ensure accurate and complete information collection. Staff are crucial in gathering patient details, including contact addresses and insurance information. Utilize Revenue Cycle Management software or online scheduling tools to facilitate seamless information gathering. Accuracy in patient records allows for efficient coverage verification, aiding the follow-up process during treatment and collections. Obtain necessary consent for electronic messaging, adhering to federal and state guidelines.

2. Utilization of Patient Portals for Payment Collection
Simplify the Revenue Cycle Management payment process and encourage timely payment collections by leveraging patient portals. Providing an online platform for credit card payments enhances accessibility and expedites the collection process. Integration with patient portals will be convenient for revenue collection and align with meaningful use objectives.
3. Identification of Outstanding Balances
Verify coverage with payers before or during care provision and understand payer rules. This proactive approach helps identify changes in the collecting patient payments, coverage details, and patient responsibility for Medical Billing payments. Early identification of outstanding balances enables timely communication with patients and aids in planning for successful revenue collection.
4. Implementation of Effective Payment Policies
Establish clear payment collections policies, requiring patients to cover copays during check-in. Develop a comprehensive Revenue Cycle Management to inform patients of this requirement. Include a patient responsibility agreement in check-in paperwork. Use secure patient messaging platforms for automated appointment reminders detailing payment collections expectations. Transparent communication about payment policies ensures both patients and staff have a clear understanding of collection procedures.
5. Offer Flexible Payment Plans:
Recognize the financial constraints patients may face and implement flexible payment plans. If patients are unable to pay the total amount upfront, offering structured payment options can increase overall revenue collections. Train staff on effectively communicating and tracking payment plans, ensuring compliance with state and federal guidelines. By providing payment flexibility, practices can accommodate diverse financial situations and improve patient collections that promote peace of mind.

Go with the Best Medical Billing Software

Medical Billing Software can help you in collecting patient payments by tracking payment details, including past due bills, automating late fees, and identifying patients who are behind. Although purchasing Revenue Cycle Management billing software comes with a price tag, it’s a cost-saving approach and boosts your payment collections rate.

By incorporating these best practices into your healthcare Revenue Cycle Management, you can streamline collecting patient payments, reduce payment delays, and foster positive relationships with patients. Transparent communication, technological integration, and flexible payment options contribute to improving patient collections and an overall improved financial experience for both healthcare providers and their patients.

How Does MHRCM Help You Improve Collecting Patient Payments?

The Med Health Revenue Cycle Management (MHRCM) system is pivotal in transforming the landscape of patient payment collections. MHRCM enhances accuracy in patient data, streamlining the verification process and reducing Medical Billing errors. Integrating patient portals within MHRCM facilitates seamless revenue collection transactions, ensuring accessibility and convenience. The system’s ability to identify outstanding balances early empowers proactive communication and strategic planning for effective payment collections. Additionally, MHRCM supports implementing transparent payment policies and offering flexible payment plans, promoting a patient-centric approach to financial interactions. For more information, contact MHRCM today!
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About the Author

Leo John

Leo John is a finance strategist and IT professional at MHRCM and is passionate about revolutionizing revenue cycle management (RCM).

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