Charged For Ineffective Charging? Let Us Save The Hassle Of Medical Aid Tariff Increases
Tailoring medical billing procedures to ensure positive patient experience
Ineffective billing procedures are some of the most common complaints received by medical practices, negatively impacting patients’ perception of a practice and rendering them reluctant to return.
Some of the most common frustrations experienced comprise not knowing upfront what consulting and treatment fees accumulate to, confusion regarding payment policies and procedures, not being told what treatments will result in additional costs and having to fight with insurance providers to fully or partially cover treatments.
Considering that patient experience directly impacts the sustainability of a practice, health professionals need to ensure that they create trusting environments where patients feel safe in terms of their health and wallets.
Therefore, the following considerations should be taken to heart when it comes to billing operations:
Handling billing procedures effectively
Medical billing companies handle patient billing queries full-time and are well-familiar with medical insurance requirements and treatment codes. They are also skilled at negotiating with insurance providers and, therefore, a great asset to any medical practice. Using a billing company, however, does not excuse medical staff for being uninformed. Staff still need to know the basics regarding treatment and procedure costs and policies and should inform patients accordingly.
The alternative to outsourcing billing operations is having a full-time employee, that specialises in this service, stationed at a practice, responsible for assisting patients with statements, claims, negotiations and payment plans.
Simplify information processes by educating staff
All in-house staff should be confident answering questions that arise regarding treatment and consulting fees as well as payment policies. While staff cannot be expected to know everything regarding a patient’s particular insurance provider, they need have the ability to point patients in the right direction.
This will establish more trust in service providers and won’t leave patients feeling that they are left in the dark once they walk out the door.
In addition, billing statements need to be as simple and clear as possible, thereby, reducing the amount of queries received and causing less frustration for staff and patients. Placing payment procedures and policies on the statement will also make it easier for patients to comply.
Ensure that patients feel valued
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that running a medical practice is expensive but this, however, is not the patient’s concern. While patients understand that medical services are expensive, they will lose trust in healthcare providers if they feel that they are being charged more than the services received are worth.
Also keep in mind that, owing to the accessibility of information in the modern age, patients can easily compare fees and the quality of services received, stressing the importance to ensure patients feel valued and taken care of.
Handle outstanding payments professionally
When patients fail to pay for services received, healthcare providers have every right to recover these fees. Patient experience, however, will greatly be improved if healthcare providers recognise the challenges experienced regarding payments.
Common challenges comprise; getting insurance providers to fully cover treatments and consultations, disagreement regarding fees charged, confusion regarding payment procedures and, in some cases, patients are not aware that fees are outstanding.
Most of these challenges can be mitigated by ensuring that patients are informed regarding the cost of services before consultations or treatments occur. In addition, patients need to be made aware of payment policies and procedures, and a dedicated billing company or in-house staff member needs to ensure that patients are informed of outstanding fees and assisted with insurance issues.
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