Anyone who has read my writing for any period of time knows that I am a big proponent of No Statements!
Patient statements are a waste of time and resources. Think of what your life might be like without statements:
No monthly expense to generate or send statements via electronic service or printing and stuffing.
- No need to sort them out of the mail, open them, post them, copy or scan them, and deposit them.
- No returned checks.
- When three or more statements don’t zero-balance the account, no need to prepare the accounts to be sent to third-party collections and write them off.
- No need to dismiss the patient from the practice.
- No need to post any collections payments and adjustment to the accounts.
- No need to deal with the patient when they want to return to the practice and you have to deal with it.
But what takes the place of statements?
Having a credit-card-on-file program in your practice has the potential to simplify patient collections, as well as improving your cash flow. Let’s take it a step at a time:
- Evaluate your patient base to determine if a credit-card on file program will work for you. As of the end of 2011, creditcard.com says there was a total of more than 1 billion credit and debit cards (Visa, M/C and A/E only) in circulation in the U.S., and the average person has 2.7 cards. Almost everyone has a credit or debit card and they routinely use them to pay bills.
- Once you decide you want a credit-card-on-file program, decide on a time-frame to implement it.
- Start communicating to patients that you are going to a credit-card-on-file program.
- Shop for an online credit card processor that allows you to set up payment plans and process refunds.
- Develop your workflow for collecting at time of service, and for using the credit card on file to charge balances and make refunds after the EOBs arrive.
- Role play and practice with the staff to make sure they feel confident explaining the credit-card-on-file program to patients.
- Go Live!
Want more information on how to create your Credit-Card-On-File program? Manage My Practice is giving a webinar on the topic on June 1 – look for the announcement and registration information next week.
Photo credit: 401K