Be sure to identify any outstanding balances, the co-pay amount, or a co-insurance/deductible status. If a high dollar procedure is to be performed in the office, figure out patient responsibility.
Advise the patient on the phone or through e-mail via a patient portal of the anticipated amount due at the time of service. Do this at least five days before they arrive for their appointment if possible and verify in detail their method of payment.
Always collect outstanding balances, co-pays and deductibles at check-in and non-covered services and unmet deductibles at check-out.
You must have a clear policy on collecting co-pays and balances on the account at each visit. If the balance is large, how much is an acceptable payment if payment in full is not going to be made? Avoid payment plans if at all possible. They do not work.
Reschedule the appointment when patients fail to follow through on their promise of payment (so long as it is medically, ethically and legally permissible).
Reconfigure the front desk with a phone center away from the front desk duties, a meet and greet section, a private Care Share area, and a check¬out station for making follow-up appointments and collecting any other balances that need collecting.
Put the right individuals in the right positions to assure success.