How Much Money Did You Lose in 2018?

Most of our clients started with us struggling to survive.  They had no idea how much money they left on the table every day.  If you are going to be successful you need to build on a solid foundation.  It is so important to understand the fundamentals of running an efficient and productive business and that means getting paid for the services you provide.

Stop leaving $$$$$ on the table.  You can’t run a business if you don’t have money – can’t pay bills, meet payroll, offer employee benefits and forget about new equipment and other things that you dream about.  But, if we look at all the money you leave on the table and turn that into cash for you, you will have more money and you will be able to live the dream.

I have spent my career working with private practice owners who have too much compassion for their patients when it comes to having them pay for the services they receive.  I am not for charging or collecting what is not credible but I am for collecting what is rightfully yours. 

The notion that if you give breaks to those who have a large co-pay, deductible or have balances due after insurance has paid that they will always be there for you and recommend others to the practice is not always true.  Sure they will recommend others to you and they will tell them to go to you because you don’t collect.  That comes out before recommending you because of the treatment and care they have been given.

Charging for canceled appointments or not showing for appointments is getting better among owners but far from where it should be.  I believe that people have a higher respect for those providers of care who run a professional business and are well educated.  Patients want to be seen in an environment where administrative staff and professionals exude confidence in their skills and abilities to process and treat patients.  With a team goal of getting patients back to their activities of daily living with a new found respect for their health and well-being they are ready, willing and able to pay for the services. 

Start to evaluate the amount of money you are leaving on the table. Here are 6 things you can do to raise your cash:

1.  Train your front desk on how to greet patients and ask for the co-pay every visit.  The collection goal must be 100%. The front desk can coordinate with the biller to collect patient balances.

2.  Develop and implement a cancellation and no-show policy and keep to it.  It begins with the first phone call where you ask them to call if they cannot make the first visit because you will be scheduling for a 45 minute to an hour for the evaluation.  From there, put up a reminder at the front desk to call 24 hours in advance if they need to reschedule and appointment otherwise they will be charged for the visit.  Before a patient leaves the therapist should remind them how important it is to make each visit and the front desk can give a happy reminder to have them call if they need to change their next appointment. 

3.  Talk to the patient about paying a portion of their deductible on each visit to ease the pocketbook with a big bill at the end of the month.  While they can wait until the insurance processes the claim and sends a notice of how much has been applied to the deductible, talking to the patient about options will help to get most of the money up front.

4.  Send statements at least monthly but better, consider sending them bi-monthly.  Waiting 30 days to get a statement with balances up to 30 days old will be harder to collect than getting one every 15 days or so.  The mind says they want to be paid.  When the front desk is aware of balances owed by patients still coming for treatment, they can collect as they come in for a visit. 

Note:  The collection of patient money is decreased by at least 50% if not collected at time of service.

5.  In some instances patients may be getting checks from their insurance company and are supposed to be turning them over to the practice.  Many times it doesn’t work that way and you end up paying someone to bill for the services, keep checking to see if a payment was made and then send statements and make repeated calls to the patient to turn the checks over or pay the balance.  This is time consuming and costly to you.  A better suggestion is to collect what the insurance will pay at time of service.  Let them know that you bill daily and they should receive a check in 2 to 3 weeks.  If they don’t receive a check they should call so you can follow-up for them.

6.  Make sure you reconcile all monies paid at the front desk.

Remember, it is all about the patient, their care and their responsibilities.  It’s also about you getting paid for the services you provide without paying the profit to get it.  Set up processes that will help you improve your patient collections and let you continue offering the highest quality of care.

Diane McCutcheon, CEO, President

Diane McCutcheon Business Management 

Consulting Services, Inc. & Account Matters