Keeping track of collections

To stay on top of collections and to improve your cash flow, send out statements on a regular basis, such as weekly or biweekly. Never hold the statements for more than one week before sending them out. Patients are apt to pay more promptly when they receive a bill while the event is still fresh in their minds.

You can reduce any trouble with collecting from the insurance company by seeking the patient's assistance. Ask him or her to call the insurance company when an issue of nonpayment arises. The insurance company will respond almost immediately and more positively when the patient rather than a physician's office calls.

When people forget to pay their bills, begin to issue collections letters when the age of the account is 31 days. Because many patients think that the physician's office will not pursue collections, turn over any past-due balances after 90 days from the date of service to an inside collection agency or an outside firm. Many practices now charge the patient additional fees incurred as a result of collection services. Check state regulations and managed care contracts before implementing these policies.


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