I’ve been presented with a wonderful opportunity to share with ADA/M members (that’s the Association of Dermatology Administrators and Managers) next month, where we’ll spend an hour looking at ways healthcare organizations can build more effective strategies for self-pay collections.
We created a great infographic on this topic a while back, but in case you haven’t been able to check that out and since most of you don’t belong to ADA/M, I wanted to share that content again – what I feel are 10 important tactics you can use to fight rising self-pay balances.
- Increase your touches. Simple concept, but how do you do it while keeping costs under control? Organizations are finding that shifting from mailers (estimated at $10 per piece!) to phone-based communication allows for increase in volume without additional cost.
- Less push. More pull. The goal is to spend less time MAKING outreach and more time TAKING incoming response. Much of your A/R outreach can be automated, and since it can dramatically increase your contact volume, you’ll spend more time handling responses from patients.
- Don’t get lost in the mail. The average American receives about 20 pieces of mail per week. How many of your mailed statements are accidentally tossed in the trash or collect dust in a pile on the patient’s kitchen counter?
- The nighttime is the right time. If you’re reaching out to patients by phone, there’s an optimal time of day to do it. Data shows that calls after 5:00 p.m. are 45% more effective at achieving a response.
- Watch your tone. Use proper tones as accounts progress in the cycle. While a friendly tone is most effective early in the cycle, “sunshine and daisies” isn’t always best as accounts pass 90 or 120 days. Adjust your tone to match the severity of the delinquency.
- Early connection = early collection. Time is money. Average recovery of an account that reaches 90 days past due? Only 74%. 120 days? A dismal 65%. And it gets uglier from there. Early outreach gives you the best opportunity to maximize dollars collected on each account.
- Let others gather the low-hanging fruit. The majority of your A/R accounts are “lazy payers”, meaning they just need a quick reminder to make payment. Automated notifications are a great way to nudge these accounts.
- Have staff focus on the big fish. Automating with the “lazy payers” lets you steer agents toward higher value accounts that are more problematic. Place your agents where their expertise is needed most!
- Treat patients to a transfer. There’s nothing more frustrating than communication with an opportunity to respond. Automate the outreach, but also be sure to include an option for the patient to make payment, talk with the staff or simply leave a message.
- Automate the payment processing. If you’re going to let patients pay by phone, why not TOTALLY automate that process? Rather than storing credit card info, a third-party vendor can help you securely process those payments and save loads of time for the staff.
Be on the lookout for some upcoming TeleVox webinars on patient self-pay, where we’ll dig deeper into the challenges you’re facing and these 10 tactics you can use to fight back!