How to Improve Patient Collections

My Chiropractic office is struggling with collecting from patients, and as a result our overall collections are low. What can I do to improve on patient collections?

Unless your Chiropractic office relies solely on auto and WC cases for income, chances are patient responsibility amounts are the largest areas of outstanding responsibility in your accounts receivable. With high deductible plans, large copays, co-insurances, non-covered services, and benefit maximums tucked into most of your patient’s insurance plans, your office is becoming more of a cash practice than you ever expected!

Here are ways you can work better with your patients at collecting patient responsibility amounts while building trust and avoiding fallout:

1. Communicate with the patient what their benefits are and what they can expect as a result. Be honest about services that won’t be covered, the amount of visits they are allowed, and what that care is going to cost. Explain that your office is there to help them heal and get better and are going to help them find a way to afford care.

Talk to your patients up front about payment options, payment plans, etc. so they know what to expect and can prepare financially to pay for the care that they need. This can be an intimidating task for clinics that haven’t had the financial report of findings with their patients before, but if done correctly it will help foster a healthy relationship with the patient and the members of your practice.

Look to your Chiropractic billing software/Chiropractic practice management software for tools to help with estimating patient responsibility with network allowances and ways to set up payment plans

2. Estimate the cost of care based on their insurance verification and coordinate regular payments with the patient to avoid the costly expense of repeat patient statements.

3. If insurance has discontinued paying and the patient benefits from ongoing care discuss wellness care options with your clinic and Modify their payment plan to accommodate wellness care and discontinue insurance billing unless a new injury occurs or an insurance change has been made.

4. Create processes/scripts for any staff members in your office that are involved in collections processes to help them communicate better with your patient and understand how to find the information necessary to collect the right amount from your patients. Rehearse this and observe your staff on occasion to evaluate if additional training/process documentation is needed.

5. Run your Aging Report/Accounts receivable on your Chiropractic Billing Software to Evaluate the effectiveness of your payment plans, determine if additional process changes are needed in your collection protocols. If you are working with a Chiropractic billing service company, ask them to evaluate the success rate of patient amounts collected (i.e. you collected 75% of what patients owed last month).

6. Determine what steps are needed if patients still have balances due to unexpected insurance processing or loss of benefits – Educate your staff with process-based training on how to determine the correct patient balance and establish a process for how often patient statements are sent and what steps should be taken if the balance has not been collected after statement attempts.

A Chiropractic Billing Service can help the Collection Process

A Chiropractic billing service company working with a Chiropractic billing application should have tools in place to measure outstanding revenue in different categories – such as in process with insurance vs. patient responsibility. Work with your Chiropractic billing service to make sure you are utilizing patient collection tools and reporting to help with your collections processes and to measure your performance on a monthly basis.

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About the author

Todd Crabtree

Todd Crabtree

Founder & Chief Technology Officer. Founded Clinic Doctor Inc. in 2004, to innovate the providing of insurance billing services to healthcare providers in chiropractic clinics that lacked the resources to pay for qualified billing professionals.

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