Three Patient Collection Barriers Medical Practices Need to Understand

Late bills

A professional debt collection agency can offer its clients so much more than a maximized return on outstanding debt. While that’s a motivating reason, so is the insight that an experienced, reputable agency can offer. With half a century of experience, Business and Professional Collection Service here in Reno, Nevada, has worked with countless businesses on collection strategies. In working closely with these clients, opportunities for internal and external billing modifications tend to become readily apparent. For medical practices in particular, here are three patient collection barriers to understand so your practice can better help patients navigate their bills.

Professional vs Facility Services

Healthcare billing is complex, and nowhere is that more evident than in the multiple bills that a patient can receive for a single procedure. Many patients tend to assume that making a payment to the facility — the hospital or out-patient center, for example — for a particular medical procedure means they’ve fulfilled their financial obligations. Of course, facility services are separate from professional services, which may include the surgeon, the hospitalist, or the anesthesiologist — all of whom have their own fees. From a patient perspective, multiple bills for the same procedure may seem like an error — a double bill, perhaps. Clarifying these separate costs and how billing works before a patient undergoes a procedure can create a much more positive medical billing experience.

A Persistent Myth about Medical Bills and Collections

The notion that medical bills are a unique sort of debt that can’t be sent to collections is another common hurdle. Sometimes, a patient will prioritize the payment of bills besides medical costs because they believe those balances are exempt from being sent to collections. That isn’t the case, but it’s a persistent misunderstanding. Again, this is an instance where clarification from the start is critical.

Asking for Payment vs True Collections Strategies

Outstanding invoices are a headache for any medical practice, diverting staff members and time toward chasing down what you’re owed. But there’s a difference between a staff member asking a patient for payment and a true collection strategy. This difference becomes clear when you partner with an experienced collection agency. Their agents are trained in the most effective collection methods, which often involve framing effective payment expectations in a manner that’s truly collaborative.

The Takeaway

Taking a proactive educational approach with your patients has two benefits — a higher likelihood of your practice being paid promptly for services and a better patient experience. Studies have also shown that patients who had a positive billing experience are twice as likely to recommend a physician and a full five times more likely to recommend a facility.

As medical practices and patients alike continue to navigate the complex billing system, education is key. BP Collect has the experience and insight to help your practice with debt recovery issues before they begin. Contact us today to learn more.

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