The number one goal of any doctor’s office or clinic should be to help their patients. But the truth is that the only way you can stay “in business” to be able to help your patients in the future, is to stay on top of your ENT account management. If you are really in the weeds, you can consider outsourcing billing ENT services until you get back on track, educate your staff or bring in some training, but in most cases with the help of a reputable healthcare consulting firm, you can take control and get things running smoothly in no time.
We all need a firm hand from now and then to ensure that we are taking care of account management medical services in addition to providing patient care. Brand new offices with inexperienced staff, growing offices with overwhelmed staff and long-time practices that are struggling to accommodate the changes in the healthcare field are all examples of ENT practices that are at-risk for management issues. Understaffing, staff that has not been properly trained to the new software and requirements, and new staff members that don’t understand the ins and outs of ENT account management can be other risk factors.
Other Challenges to the Medical Field
In addition to all of the common challenges that otolaryngology practices and clinics often face, there are other changes within the healthcare industry that are wrecking havoc and causing even the most organized practices to stumble. Collecting fees from patients in a world where high-deductible health plans are now commonplace, as well as issues stemming from high unemployment rates and overall economy issues, is becoming extremely difficult. Part of account management for medical practices is billing and receiving these fees to pay the bills, pay the staff and keep the practice in business to help other patients in the future.
Many of the new healthcare plans that are offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have a very high-deductible compared to the plans that most people are used to from their old insurance companies. Instead of a $20 co-pay, patients are being billed thousands of dollars for initial visits and are unable to pay the costs. Recent studies reveal that the average deductible on policies sold between 2013-2014 was approximately $4100 for individuals and $7700 for families. Practices need to recover as much of those costs up-front to ensure payment that they would have gotten from the insurance companies before the ACA.
Tips to Increase Collections from Patients
If you are struggling with your ENT account management due to increased demands for up-front fees on high-deductible plans or from patients who are having difficulties in the downturn economy, here are some tips on how you can improve collections and account management for medical services. If you are still having issues, you can always consider outsourcing billing ENT services or hire a professional healthcare consulting firm to come in and help you to make the sweeping changes required to stay on top of these reforms.
- Check Insurance Eligibility – One of the best practices as suggested by ENT account management experts, is to check the eligibility of each patient before every single appointment. They will become annoyed, but it is important just the same. You can no longer afford to check eligibility once a quarter or once a year, as was common practice before ACA. Insurance cards in-hand do not translate to actual benefits, so physicians and clinics need to be more diligent.
- Payments Made Up-Front – Set a policy at your practice that patients must pay co-pays before they are seen by the doctor. Because of rising costs and economic issues, more patients try to “sneak” out the door after they see the doctor without paying their bill. Make sure that patients are aware that they need to bring a form of payment with them when they call to set an appointment to avoid any confusion or excuses on appointment day.
- Help Your Patients Understand – You will find that you have a lot of patients who don’t understand the changes to their insurance and what they are required to pay. After working with the same provider for so many years, patients are now in sticker shock over the amount of money they are required to pay for the same services.
- Provide Easy Payment Options – Eliminate all of the excuses before they can be presented. This is an old sales technique called overcoming objections. Make sure that your practice is able to accept debit cards, credit cards, checks and cash. It should be as easy as possible for patients to make payments. Even consider allowing PayPal payments or some other form of instant payments to be made.
- Stay on Top of Outstanding Balances – Some practices are making the decision to send accounts to collections faster than they would have before to recover funds at a faster rate. Part of ENT account management is ensuring that money continues to flow so that the practice can pay its bills and staff. Cash flow needs to be a bigger priority and your practice needs to decide if it will do collections in-house or send them off to professionals.
Contact MD Pro Solutions for Help
If your otolaryngology practice or clinic is having difficulties taking control of account management for medical services, contact MD Pro Solutions. We are a healthcare consulting firm that specializes in your specialty! We can help with a wide range of ENT account management services, training, support, audits and much more. We can even assist with outsourcing billing ENT services while you and your staff receive the training and support you need so you can get back on track. Give us a call at 508-946-1665 to schedule a FREE consultation or to learn more about our services.