A Comprehensive Guide to Patient Statements: Five suggestions and Three Challenges

Using paper, make sure your sentences are simple, direct, and patient-friendly. These attributes contribute to fewer patient inquiries and greater collections. Paper statements should be designed with full-color printing, practice branding, a top-line summary in a large typeface, a customized detail space, statement supporters, and more.

The global delivery model saves clients money and time by swiftly and effectively paying your patients. Services for creating patient statements include:

·      Printing and mailing options

·      Processing of statements

·      Patient statements printed

·      Statement mailing

·      Patient-friendly billing: A reputable statement processing company will collaborate with you to produce patient-friendly, simple-to-understand statements

·      Implementation of patient portals: A reputable business will allow you to take patient payments via the patient portal using a credit card

·      Answering patient questions: Additionally, we may assist with any phone calls the patients may make to you regarding their invoices

Five suggestions for patient statements

1. Please do not postpone sending statements

There is no justification for delaying the mailing of a printed statement. It would help if you didn't hold off on sending statements for more than a day.

 A successful collection becomes less likely with time. After 90 days, delinquent accounts typically lose half a percentage point every day.

Your practice should prepare to deliver a statement in the following batch as soon as a patient accrues a debt.

2. Always Deliver Remarks for cost-effective amounts

Consider establishing a limit for the issuance of printed statements. From now on, only create statements for balances higher than the chosen sum. Also, consider the expense of creating, printing, and mailing the statement. After reading this, you will better understand the point at which a balance justifies sending a statement.

Another potential option to reduce costs is through family billing. By combining family members on one statement, your practice may lower statement costs. If you want to go this way, schedule the generation of statements such that everyone in the family is included in one statement. Depending on your patient base, you can decide whether or not this option is practical for your clinic.

3. Understand what to include

Statement processing should include information to make it simpler for patients to pay in addition to the usual information on any letter, such as your practice's name, address, and phone number. It could comprise:

·      The due date for payment

·      the URL of the website where a patient may make an online payment

·      a space for patients to fill up their payment card details so that the office may process them

·      a phone number that patients can call with any billing-related inquiries

Finally, disclosure statement processing is required if you calculate financing costs. The Truth in Lending Act mandates that disclosure of financial costs is necessary.

4. Remove unclear terms from the statement

It would be best to make sense of the information; statement processing can be challenging. According to Instamed, 70% of patients are perplexed by the details on their medical bills.

Do not mention "balance aging" in statements to make them simpler for patients to read. If a balance is not in the last aging bucket, some patients perceive this as suggesting they have more time to pay.

5. Choose to use electronic statements

Many patients prefer to get their statements electronically. According to the Instamed research, 77 percent of respondents said they would want to sign up for e-statements.

E-statements can also be advantageous for practices. Sending electronic statements saves money on paper statement costs and frequently results in faster payment, freeing up staff time for other projects.

Because healthcare data is so valuable, cybersecurity dangers are significant. There are many different electronic solutions. Along with statement processing, these include SMS billing, storing credit cards on file, and e-payments. Remember the value of a secure payment site while you investigate these possibilities.

Three collection challenges you might face for the statement-sending procedure

Now that you know how to optimize your statement-sending procedure, let's look at some typical collecting issues. Understanding these difficulties and the best solutions to address them can make your clinic's collections process go more smoothly.

1. Time-consuming and pricey collections

Most collection procedures have experienced expensive slowdowns. A patient with a significant amount could pay slowly or not at all. At the same time, providing statements for modest balances skirts the cost-effectiveness line. Then there is bad debt, which a collection agency can only collect for cents on the dollar.

2. Failure to address and manage issues

Practices should be ready if they want to collect during service. A health IT outcomes study based on data from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) claims that 30% of patients leave the building without paying the bill.

You might be hesitant to approach patients for previous unpaid amounts for a variety of reasons. You may have known the patient for a long time, or your office may cater to a small town or neighborhood. Even the collection procedure may need to be improved.

Pay attention to these red flags that a patient may be behind on payments:

·      Calls and remarks go unanswered

·      Return of the statement as undeliverable

·      Received a partial or no payment at all, violating the payment plan agreement

·      Asking for modifications to the payment schedule or reduced payments

·      Justifications for being unable to pay

·      Patient skipping appointments

3. Rise in healthcare insurance prices and unemployment

Healthcare is becoming more expensive. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services anticipated national health care spending to surpass $3.81 trillion in 2019 and will likely surpass $4 trillion in 2020. While this is happening, balance write-offs increase.

By sticking to the following best practices of statement processing, your clinic can provide patients with payment plan choices or early payment discounts:

·      Create payment and discount policies that are precise and well-defined

·      Offer them to all patients equally

·      This results in rising insurance costs and out-of-pocket payments for businesses and employees. Working with the patient directly through these methods is preferable to using claims court or collection agencies

What's the bottom line?

The federal statute governing third-party collection firms is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Inform the front desk employees about the rules for medical billing that apply in your state. Keep in mind that medical costs are regarded as a signed contract and are not refundable. For further details on statement processing, printing, and mailing requirements, consider consulting with L & D Mail Masters.

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