Throughout the course of the day, practices tend to encounter repeated issues with their patients, such as arriving late or without a referral. While the front office staff is generally tasked with handling these situations, they are often handled inconsistently and resolutions are communicated poorly. Ongoing issues at the desk can cause patient flow problems, financial issues and patient satisfaction concerns. Discussing with your front desk staff some of the issues they commonly tackle is the first step in changing the process from reactive to proactive.

Once the issues have been identified, take note on how the problem affects your practice. For example, patients who don’t pay their co-payment at the visit need to be billed. While one or two patients may not be noticed, what if 40 percent of your patients didn’t make this payment? Would it affect your cashflow at the end of the month? Perhaps there are patients who don’t show up for their appointment. Every appointment slot in your schedule should be viewed as potential revenue. Last minute cancellations and no-shows leave voids in the schedule with no opportunity to fill them and equate to lost revenue.

Deciding beforehand how you want to address these situations and communicating the agreed upon process, alleviates the pressure on your staff and defines the expectations for your patients. When creating the protocols on how to handle situations in the office, it is essential to train your staff on positive communication. Teach them the best way to communicate with patients while enforcing policies. Assuring the staff understands the rationale for the policy and the spirit in which it is written is the key to maintaining good relationships with your patients. In addition, give parameters to your staff, such as overiding a “late patient policy” during times of poor weather conditions. While it is important to keep things under control, it is just as important to be flexible when it makes sense to do so.

Once your staff has been trained and understands how to enforce the policies, it’s time to communicate your new standards to your patients. Often, creating a Patient Policy Page as part of the Registration Packet is the easiest method to provide information to your new patients. Handing out copies of the policy page to the return patients at their next visit is very effective, as well. All policies should have a signature line. Patients don’t need to agree to the policies, but signing confirms they have received the information.

Some of the common areas that you may want to consider:

Co-payments

Most patients know a copayment is expected at the time of service. However, there are always times when the patient does not have a method of payment in person and requests to be billed. Assuming you are still willing to see the patient in these cases, creating a statement and mailing it to the patient is an expense to your practice. Considering most patients will pay their balances after two or more billing cycles, the cost of sending the statement has now doubled. Collecting co-payments at the desk provides cash flow to the practice. Delaying the co-payments for 60 days could have a significant impact on your cash flow. Notifying patients of an “Administrative Fee” for any co-payments not made at the time of service, provides a deterrent for future visits.

Tip: The front desk can be more helpful when enforcing the policy if you allow them to extend the payment opportunity until the end of the business day. This allows the patient to call the office with a credit card later that day, thus avoiding the fee and keeping your cashflow intact.

Cancellation Policy

By implementing a cancellation policy, it sets a courtesy expectation if an appointment cannot be kept. Requesting notice of 24 business hours alleviates the late Friday afternoon cancellation for the Monday morning appointment, thus allowing for opportunity to schedule another patient in the cancelled slot. Attaching a fee for improper cancellation provides a deterrent as well as a precedence for repeat offenders.

Tips: While it may seem obvious, it is important for your staff to apply courtesy and common sense to all of the policies. A patient cancelling inside of the 24-hour requirement due to an illness or another reasonable excuse should be handled without referencing the cancellation policy. For those without an emergency, it can be helpful for the front office to politely advise a patient that he/she is technically cancelling within the 24 business hours, yet the staff member has arranged for the fee to be waived at this time. This both re-enforces the policy and casts a positive light on the receptionist for waiving the fee. For no-show patients, it is important to get them back on the schedule without penalty. There are times patients feel the office is upset with them and will not reschedule an appointment if they have not shown for a visit. Reaching out to them re-opens communication and keeps your staff in a positive position with your patients, especially if they open with, “We understand things happen from time to time. Can we reschedule your appointment?” Then, close with a gentle reminder, “I was able to waive the no-show fee for you last time, but I may not be able to do that again for you, so please do your best to keep this appointment. Thank you.”

Account Balances

While patients are made aware of balances through their monthly statements, a policy notification regarding consequences can encourage timely payments. Indication of payment methods or payment plans along with a 90-day head’s up prior to involving a collection agency gives patients an idea of available options and consequences if balances are not paid.

Payment Plans

With high deductibles and co-insurances, many patients find themselves with a balance after their appointment. The payment plan policy may not be something you wish to include in the Registration Packet, but having a plan for how to handle patients who are having difficulty paying their balances will allow for quick and automatic action without working through each patient’s particular situation.

Offering a payment plan is helpful to your patients, but can be time consuming to administrate. Late payments are problematic for cash flow. Requiring all payment plans to be done with a credit card on file, pre-determines the payment dates and amounts. It also ensures that the patient has signed off on them. This gives the office the control over the payments and guarantees they will be executed on time each month. Credit card on file is becoming more commonplace in practices. Some are handled quite rudimentary with a form containing all of the information and signed by the cardholder, locked in a file and accessible only by one individual for processing. More advanced options are now available from a variety of merchants that allow for the card to be entered but only for the last 4 digits to be visible for protection. With the account set up, future charges can be virtually run without the card present.

Each practice has its own unique needs when it comes to alleviating recurring patient issues. Determine what those issues are ahead of time and find solutions that can consistently be applied. It will alleviate wasting precious time during the busy day and set up a positive relationship with your patients and staff for years to come.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Partners

partners
facebook marketing partner
google partner
shopify logo
hubspot partner program

European Office

Agentur Webfox

Berlin, Germany

Join Our Newsletter!

@ 2023 Points Group / All Rights Reserved

Privacy Policy

This Privacy Policy governs the manner in which Points Group, LLC collects, uses, maintains and discloses information collected from users (each, a “User”) of the https://www.pointsgroup1.10web.me website (“Site”). This privacy policy applies to the Site and all products and services offered by Points Group, LLC.

PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION

We may collect personal identification information from Users in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, when Users visit our site, subscribe to the newsletter, respond to a survey, fill out a form, and in connection with other activities, services, features or resources we make available on our Site. Users may visit our Site anonymously. We will collect personal identification information from Users only if they voluntarily submit such information to us. Users can always refuse to supply personal identification information, except that it may prevent them from engaging in certain Site related activities.

NON-PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION

We may collect non-personal identification information about Users whenever they interact with our Site. Non-personal identification information may include the browser name, the type of computer and technical information about User’s means of connection to our Site, such as the operating system and the Internet service providers utilized and other similar information.

WEB BROWSER COOKIES

Our Site may use “cookies” to enhance User experience. User’s web browser places cookies on their hard drive for record-keeping purposes and sometimes to track information about them. User may choose to set their web browser to refuse cookies, or to alert them when cookies are being sent. If they do so, note that some parts of the Site may not function properly.

HOW WE USE COLLECTED INFORMATION

Points Group, LLC may collect and use Users personal information for the following purposes:

  • To improve customer service
  • Information you provide helps us respond to your customer service requests and support needs more efficiently.
  • To personalize user experience
  • We may use information in the aggregate to understand how our Users as a group use the services and resources provided on our Site.
  • To improve our Site
  • We may use feedback you provide to improve our products and services.
  • To run a promotion, contest, survey or other Site feature
  • To send Users information they agreed to receive about topics we think will be of interest to them.
  • To send periodic emails
  • We may use the email address to respond to their inquiries, questions, and/or other requests. If User decides to opt-in to our mailing list, they will receive emails that may include company news, updates, related product or service information, etc. If at any time the User would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email.

HOW WE PROTECT YOUR INFORMATION

We adopt appropriate data collection, storage and processing practices and security measures to protect against unauthorized access, alteration, disclosure or destruction of your personal information, username, password, transaction information and data stored on our Site.

SHARING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

We do not sell, trade, or rent User’s personal identification information to others. We may share generic aggregated demographic information not linked to any personal identification information regarding visitors and users with our business partners, trusted affiliates and advertisers for the purposes outlined above. We may use third party service providers to help us operate our business and the Site or administer activities on our behalf, such as sending out newsletters or surveys. We may share your information with these third parties for those limited purposes provided that you have given us your permission.

THIRD PARTY WEBSITES

Users may find advertising or other content on our Site that link to the sites and services of our partners, suppliers, advertisers, sponsors, licensors and other third parties. We do not control the content or links that appear on these sites and are not responsible for the practices employed by websites linked to or from our Site. In addition, these sites or services, including their content and links, may be constantly changing. These sites and services may have their own privacy policies and customer service policies. Browsing and interaction on any other website, including websites which have a link to our Site, is subject to that website’s own terms and policies.

CHANGES TO THIS PRIVACY POLICY

Points Group, LLC has the discretion to update this privacy policy at any time. When we do, we will revise the updated date at the bottom of this page. We encourage Users to frequently check this page for any changes to stay informed about how we are helping to protect the personal information we collect. You acknowledge and agree that it is your responsibility to review this privacy policy periodically and become aware of modifications.

YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF THESE TERMS

By using this Site, you signify your acceptance of this policy. If you do not agree to this policy, please do not use our Site. Your continued use of the Site following the posting of changes to this policy will be deemed your acceptance of those changes.

CONTACTING US

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this site, please contact us at:

Points Group, LLC

https://www.pointsgroup1.10web.me

150 Morristown Road, Suite 220

Bernardsville, NJ 07924

This document was last updated on July 24, 2014