Unfortunately, many practices haven’t updated their financial policies and processes to communicate online payment options to their patients. Instead, many financial policies are out of date and they often fail to address online payment at all. In order to achieve patient compliance with payment policies, practices should adhere to the following suggestions provided by a recent article from Medical Economics.
- Establish a point person. Identify a specific individual or group of individuals who will be responsible for communicating with patients about financial policies. If this task isn’t explicitly assigned, no one will take responsibility. The financial policy simply becomes out of date information you hand out to patients or post on your website.
- Discuss with patients. This discussion doesn’t need to be very elaborate. Practices need to determine beforehand what information is crucial and how much time should be spent with each patient. Make sure to highlight the most important information in the policy and develop a relationship with the patient. Understanding a patient’s needs and preferences can redirect the conversation. A few minutes of face-to-face communication with each patient can go a long way.
- Gather patient information. During these discussions, the practice should record a patient’s email address, the preferred method of communication, and the preferred method of payment. The Health Insurance Privacy and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and other privacy regulations must be followed at all times. Patient authorizations must be obtained and communications handled appropriately. Knowing the best way to communicate with each patient will help to create more efficient processes for the future.
What to Review
The following information should be reviewed with each patient: a description of how the practice will handle statements for the patient’s responsibility portion of care; a sample of the statement the patient will receive; and a business card or contact information provided by the representative who discusses the procedures with the patient. By following these guidelines, practices will achieve patient compliance with their payment policies and establish a stronger relationship between patients and providers.
Author: Lauren Daniels