Copay amounts are too small to warrant the cost of collection attempts after the time of service. The solution? Collect copay before the patient receives services! Remember the following four suggestions when working with collections:
- Remind patients of their financial responsibilities. Alert them ahead of time—for example, when they make an appointment— so the request for money isn’t a surprise.
- Ask every patient for money at every appointment. This may seem like common sense, but some staff may hesitate. It can be tough to ask someone for money fresh out of a horrible exam; Most people don’t want to ask someone in distress for money. You have to get over that feeling.
- Explain the consequences for the practice. Some patients just think it’s about the $10; They don’t understand that the doc is contractually obligated to collect. If a patient still balks, document the refusal. Tell the patient he or she will be responsible for two copays at the next appointment.
- Consider when to involve the physician. I believe in keeping the physician out of the collection discussion. However it is the doctor’s money, and he or she could have more success with the patient. Physician interaction is a last resort.