Independent physicians, doctor’s offices, hospitals, and multi-hospital systems all have a need for medical collections. Most collection agencies can help these healthcare organizations with the debt collection portion of their revenue cycle.
Regardless of the size of your practice, you can commission a medical collections agency so that you receive regular payments and can maintain a healthy relationship with your patients.
Medical Collection Stats
Businesses in any industry struggle with bill collections, but the medical field faces difficult challenges that are unique to their trade. According to a consumer credit report survey, 51.2 percent of all collection trade lines come from medical collections. It also reveals that approximately 42.9 million people are past due or delinquent on their medical bills.
These facts are a clear indicator of the challenges involved in medical collections and how healthcare practices are often in need of serious help in recouping money that is due.
Medical Collection Challenges
- Executives and leaders in the healthcare field face a myriad of challenges when trying to collect from patients including:
- Practices that choose to ignore issues rather than dealing with them
- Healthcare plans with high deductibles
- The economy and unemployment
- Uninsured patients
- Patient expectations
With the emergence of COVID-19, the healthcare industry faces even more billing and collection challenges. According to a Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) poll, medical practice leaders stated that their biggest issues related to telehealth and telephone visits due to the pandemic included:
- Inconsistent billing rules: Administrative staff is faced with an evolving system of billing codes and requirements that vary among patients.
- Accuracy and equality among charges: The new telehealth services result in issues with accurate payments for billed services as well as inequality of cost among approved services.
- Documentation: Learning and adapting to new rules for billing and accurately documenting them was another major issue reported by medical providers.
How Medical Billing Collections Can Succeed
In order for medical collections to be successful, the practice must be open to making changes to their current billing system and ready to implement new procedures. For instance, while the vast majority of doctor’s offices and hospitals offer payment plan options to patients, only a quarter of them offer payments at the time of service, according to an April 2010 article in MGMA Connection. Instead, 46 percent of practices offer a payment plan only as a last resort prior to sending the bill to a medical collections agency.
Revenue cycle managers must determine a way to deal with patients who face higher balances and therefore experience difficulty paying their bills, including those with high deductibles, patients who are unemployed, and individuals without insurance who self-pay.
Making Medical Collections Easy
Instead of dealing with the struggle of tracking down and reminding – even nagging – patients to pay their bill, healthcare providers often put their overdue bills in the hands of an experienced medical collections agency.
A qualified collection agency sends numerous demand notices and makes phone calls to a verified phone number of the patient. The medical collections service will report the debt to credit bureaus, such as TransUnion and Equifax, and may even take legal action for nonpayment, if necessary.
Medical collection agencies are also proactive in offering assistance to your patients. They may create payment plans, reduce bill costs in some cases, and offer easy payment methods, such as website payments using major credit cards or through a bank account, check by mail, or paying the provider directly.
When working with the right medical collections service, it’ll feel like business as usual, but without the hassle of chasing down patients for nonpayment.