Financial Discussions With Patients Don't Have to be Difficult

Posted by Dawn Lunde on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 @ 08:31 AM

Discussions with patients about payments can be both fruitful and positive.
Discussions with patients about payments can be both fruitful and positive.

There are many ways patients pay for the entirety of their medical care, from insurance provided by employers or purchased publicly to payments they make directly  to healthcare providers. With so many avenues available to fulfill their financial obligations and the substantial differences in various insurance plans, healthcare payments are an especially complicated topic.

One area that causes some of the most direct and significant problems for providers is getting patients to pay in full and on time. How can your facility have more effective and positive financial discussions with patients? Consider these pieces of advice:

1. Address the Issue Directly

Financial discussions with patients can feel uncomfortable for many healthcare staffers at first. However, avoiding this conversation or addressing it indirectly can ultimately lead to confusion, hesitation, and negative outcomes.

"...you can make sure everyone is on the same page."

By speaking about the topic in a positive and straightforward fashion, you can make sure everyone is on the same page. Together, you can then execute the financial plan. Ideally this results in capturing the patient payment up front, but setting up a recurring payment plan is often just as effective.

It's important to be professional. The way your office handles this conversation can play into a patient's satisfaction as much as the care they receive. Mentioning both requirements and options before, during and after treatment prevents the patient from being surprised. That leads to a more informed and aware patient and therefore better outcomes.

2. Have the Right Solutions in Place

Conversations about payment are only as effective as the platforms used to reliably capture payments. To ensure patients have access to useful options and tools, organizational leaders need to prioritize advanced payment solutions.

How does using the right patient payment platform create a better environment?

  • Offering multiple payment options helps overcome issues where patients only have a single method of payment with them, and addresses a wide variety of payment preferences. When your facility accepts cards, cash and checks in person as well as offering online payments, it's hard for reluctant patients to avoid paying.
  • Automated recurring payment plans offer a reliable compromise to accepting patient pay over time. With payment information – be it from a credit or debit card or bank account – on file and a mutually agreed upon payment schedule, the likelihood of a positive resolution for a payment plan increases.
  • Pre-authorization allows providers to charge up to a set amount or bill the entire cost of a visit before a patient arrives or on the day of treatment, with all information already on file.

To learn more about effective conversations and resolutions in the world of patient payment responsibility, check out our infographic and white paper on "The Money Talk."

Tags: Patient Payments

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Testimonials

  • "We have so much more information available to us with SBP than with our previous service. It's offering our patients more flexibility, and happier patients are much more pleasant for our Billing Office to deal with."

    - Kurt A.
    Revenue Cycle Manager
    National Imaging Center
  • "The staff at Secure Bill Pay have been an excellent revenue cycle partner in assisting us with setting up our processes, helping us review and analyze our results and identify opportunities at our various locations. They partner with us to identify new solutions and services as we have grown. The reliability for payment processing has been very good and our requests for Customer Support are handled very timely and thoroughly."
    - Kathleen J.
    Central Business Office Manager
    Multi-Hospital & Clinic Health System
  • "Our volume of patient credit/debit card payments increased by 44% in the first month of the service compared to that same month a year prior (with the same patient volume). We attribute that to now having online bill pay and better ability to collect at the POS for all of our locations [where we had not been before], even the outreach sites!"
    - Terry M.
    Practice Administrator
    Orthopedic Spine Surgery Group
  • “I’ve been shocked with the success of the online bill paying program... Patients come to us in acute health care situations. Bill paying is not their highest priority. We didn’t expect so many patients to use Secure Bill Pay so quickly, but the statistics speak for themselves.”
    - Beth M.
    VP Revenue Cycle
    Large University Health System
  • "Before Secure Bill Pay, online bill pay only accounted for one percent of our payments. After just six months of using Secure Bill Pay’s no-login solution, that number reached 10 percent."
    - Jen R.
    Finance Manager
    Large Ophthalmology Practice
  • “The nice part about Secure Bill Pay is the breadth of tools available to manage the entire patient pay process. But the best part is the outcomes we’ve seen, including year-over-year double-digit increases in patient pay revenue that are not wholly due to industry or volume changes.”

    "The integration with our PM/EMR software is simply icing on the cake."

    - Steve M.
    Director of Business Services
    Large Integrated Health System
  • "Senior Management is thrilled with the numbers coming through due to our implementation of Secure Bill Pay."
    - Kim W.
    Business Office Supervisor
    Inpatient & Outpatient Psychiatric Facility
  • "The system was received with open arms at each clinic. All had a few questions at first, but as you said, it was simple to get comfortable."
    - Sue C.
    Practice Manager
    Large Nephrology Practice
  • "Secure Bill Pay has streamlined our credit card process. It has been beneficial from a processing end to a storage and search of record end. Certainly saves us time!"
    - Jackie F.
    Business Office Manager
    Dematology Practice
  • "It is easy to talk about a product and service we are totally happy with!"
    - Cheryl M.
    Practice Manager
    Mid-size Ophthalmology Practice
  • "We're impressed. Thank you for not being afraid of any question we may ask and answering it in a straightforward manner. This gives us more confidence."
    - Grant E.
    Revenue Cycle Manager
    Large Dermatology Clinic
  • "Secure Bill Pay  is a much more efficient option for collecting patient payments... It is a forward thinking approach for healthcare revenue. Dynamics have switched where we all need to think and act like a business versus a service."

    - Julie H.
    Director of Business Services
    Large Physician Group

     

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