“Inform before you perform.” Does your office have a written financial policy? If not, you should. This policy should be presented to and signed by all patients, especially at the time of their first appointment. This sets the ground rules. Keep a copy of the signed document in their patient records. Your financial policy should include all payment options and treatment should not commence until the payment arrangements are settled. A successful policy is one that is clearly presented and consistently enforced. Here are the assets you may consider including in your financial policy:
- Contracts: includes reimbursement rates, effective and termination dates, claim filing guidelines, payment terms, and other contractual provisions.
- Payment methodology: per diem/visit, per episode, capitation, fee-for-service
- Revenue cycle: each phase of the cycle, from the moment a patient scheduled the appointment until the payment is received from the health plan, is equally important to maximizing insurance reimbursements.
- Payment options: offer bank and credit card payments.
A written policy allows you to take control of your practice’s financial system. It gives you the opportunity to offer financial options to your patients and makes you more likely to receive payment at the time of the service. By offering financial options up front, it is easier for your patients to envision the expense in their budget. Remember, communication is key and all financial arrangements should be made prior to treatment.
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A version of this blog was originally published on Ben’s Linkedin.
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