The Franklin James guide to Medical Billing Collection

During the last 6 months our team have pro-actively collected payment on over £5million pounds of outstanding invoices from patients. The monies owed were for private healthcare procedures completed by Doctors and Consultants in the UK. Our company improved the medical billing collection performance quickly and professionally.

Chasing payment for invoices is always a delicate matter, especially where they are patients. Its delicate, its fragile and our team had to use all their skills to communicate effectively.

Surprisingly we found that many of the non-payment issues related to improper administration works carried out by practises, as opposed to the patients not wanting to make payment.

Below I highlight the 6 key reasons why patients did not make payment and what you can do to resolve these issues.

6 Key Medical billing collection issues

Patients not aware of fees

Many patients advised that they were unaware about additional “administration” charges due. This for obvious reasons made them unwilling to pay. Would you? You might pay reluctantly however, it leaves a sour taste in the mouth!

The solution to this is simple. Explain all charges involved, then detail the charges on letters to patients being open and honest. The patient can then choose to use the practise or not and will be much happier to pay.

Lack of contact information for the patient

Many patients contact details were incorrect, not up to date, or missing. Invoices and statements are usually sent by email and post, so where email addresses were missing, post codes and / or house numbers incorrect, the patient may never have received the invoice. So how could they pay?

There were many incorrect contact numbers for patients too. We then had to get in touch with Doctors Secretaries, who after some time located further information about the patient. But this delays the process of collecting payments overdue.

Many patients gave “hotel” addresses rather than fixed abodes

Yes really! This was only noted once we started looking into the addresses to confirm whether post was being received or not. The patient may have put the “number” of a hotel, not the “name of it”. Some patients were able to get away with paying hundreds even thousands of pounds in medical bills.

Solution: Ask for ID to verify addresses. What may take longer in the initial sign-up process, will save lots of time and MONEY if the patient fails to pay in the long run.

The guardian wrote an interesting article about ID checks back in April 2015 see here:

Practice management systems were not always updated

Similar to the above, important data relating to the patients contact information was missing from the practise management system. This resulted in us contacting secretaries to bring information up to date.

Solution – Obtain the patients details by putting a procedure in place for members of staff to follow. A few years ago, I read a great book by Atul Gawande “The Checklist Manifesto”. It explains why checklists are important and what they have done for many industries. A simple “checklist” solution could work to resolve this issue.

No credit control procedure in place

Shock! We found dating as far back as 2016 that some patients had never been contacted for payment. When we saw this we were as shocked as you might be. Looking deeper into the reasons why, we found that employees of the practices did not have the training, qualifications or experience in credit control to chase payments. And why would they?

Credit control processes are important to ensure successful collection of monies in your business. Many practices skip this key part of business; however, effective credit control and medical billing collection procedures maintains regular cash flow in your business and reduces risk.

The process does not need to be elaborate, just something formal written down for the relevant member of staff to follow.

Secretaries have other administrative priorities

Relating to the above, even where a basic credit control process is in place, many secretaries just don’t have time to chase out-standing payments. Doctors, consultants and their staff are already working maximum hours without the strain of having to chase for outstanding invoices too.

This is where we come in.

Our team works effectively to collect due and overdue invoices outstanding to practices. In just 6 months, excellent results were delivered for the consultants and doctors we represent. Patients remain happy, Doctors improve their cash flow, secretaries were not over-burdened with billing collection.

It is “win win” all round.

For more information on what we do to help you, contact us today.