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6 Tips to Improve Your Self-Pay A/R Follow-Up Strategy

01 Improve Self Pay Follow Up

Your healthcare facility’s success depends on steady revenue from patients. Missed or overdue payments can disrupt cash flow, making it harder to cover expenses. Your accounts receivable (A/R) displays the balance owed to your facility by patients, helping you keep track of unpaid expenses.

Improving your A/R follow-up strategy lets you maintain a healthier revenue cycle. You can implement various strategies to decrease missed payments and boost customer engagement throughout the process. Learn more about enhancing A/R collection techniques.

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6 Tips to Maximize Cash Collections and Improve A/R Follow-Up Strategy

If you notice an increase in your accounts receivable, you might need to adjust your cash collection approaches. Here are six ideas for optimizing your A/R follow-up strategy:

1. Implement Patient Self-Pay Software

Patient self-pay payment software streamlines revenue recovery. Technology empowers patients to take control of their bills, allowing them to pay from anywhere or at any time. Increased accessibility can improve payment accountability. High-end software also provides a seamless patient experience, which can help with engagement levels.

For instance, you could implement online payment portals. Facilities create online accounts for patients, and they use unique login credentials to access their medical history and billing information. Patients can access their accounts at any time and view billing details, increasing self-pay revenue. You can also set up automatic payment reminders to alert patients via email or other communication methods.

By providing intuitive and accessible software, patients can become more comfortable with finalizing payments. Online bill details give more pay transparency, reducing confusion about billing practices. Software programs can also improve the entire patient journey — fast loading times and helpful online information simplify many medical processes.

2. Incentivize Early and On-Time Payments

Another way to improve your A/R approach is by rewarding early payments. By incentivizing prompt payments, you give patients extra drive to meet deadlines. You could use incentives like:

  • Late fees: You could implement a plan to penalize overdue payments. The fees could go into effect immediately or after a certain number of missed days. Many facilities calculate late costs using a percentage of the patient’s unpaid balance, such as 1.5%. You could also increase the percentage once the patient reaches a milestone, such as a month, without paying. These penalties give patients an extra incentive to pay bills on time because they want to avoid additional prices.
  • Discounts: Your facility could also implement positive incentives to encourage quick payments, like discounts. You could start a program where early payments cause small discounts on future services. Early deposits give your practice money more quickly, which can benefit its revenue stream. Discounts and other benefits make patients more likely to strive for early payments instead of putting them off. You can use payment software to remove the discount during billing automatically.
  • Gift certificates: You could also give patients physical rewards like gift cards or certificates. Patients are often more likely to meet deadlines if they know they’ll receive a gift. These rewards can also strengthen patient-provider relationships. 

3. Enhance Communication Techniques

Effective communication is vital for healthcare revenue recovery. Your facility should outline clear payment expectations at the beginning of services. Provide documentation with details about common service prices, payment deadlines and collection procedures. You should also clearly define the consequences for missed payments, such as late fees.

Communication should also continue after your initial explanation. Periodic reminders alert patients to upcoming appointments and payment deadlines. You could send automated text messages or emails that update patients continuously. 

The more consistent your communication is, the more likely patients will respond to it. While you don’t want to overload them with messages, you should send enough that they stay aware of impending deadlines. Increased awareness can help them pay more quickly.

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4. Offer Payment Plans

Payment plans can increase patient comfort with billing processes. Instead of requiring the total price at once, patients spread out the bill over multiple weeks or months. Massive bill amounts can make patients more likely to become unresponsive. They might stop responding to payment requests if they see a high charge and know they cannot cover the entire bill. By breaking the cost into smaller pieces, it becomes much more manageable.

While plans extend the time it takes to receive funds, you make it more possible for patients to cover their entire balance. It’s better to accept funds incrementally than never.

Depending on your facility’s preferences, you might offer a patient payment plan structure for all patients or only special circumstances. For example, plans could be available for balances of over $1,000. You can work with patients individually to determine a strategy that suits them. 

5. Change Your Collection Strategy

Your facility can also adjust its collection techniques to increase patient payments. Firm and clear approaches make the process more understandable. You could adopt strategies like:

  • Requiring a deposit: Your facility could require patients to pay a portion of their cost before providing services. As soon as the patient arrives for their appointment, require a deposit before moving forward. This technique starts the payment process and ensures you receive at least a part of their balance. 
  • Shortening collection times: You could also decrease collection times, requiring payments in a shorter time amount. The more time patients have to pay, the more likely they will forget deadlines or procrastinate. Quick deadlines are more memorable for patients and can even inspire them to pay right away.

6. Follow up With Late Payments

Late payments are inevitable for medical practices — whether patients forget deadlines or can’t cover the cost, it’s unlikely every balance will be fully paid and on time. A crucial part of A/R management is following up with overdue payments. Proactive and consistent communication can help you collect late payments instead of losing them forever.

You can set automatic messages that immediately alert patients once a deadline has passed. Facility staff can also call them directly the following day, explaining late fees and further consequences of missed payments. These strategies start the collection process immediately. Patients can explain the reason behind a late bill, and you can develop the best path forward.

Explore Revenue Recovery Solutions for Your Practice With Millennia

If you’re seeking transformative solutions for your healthcare payment processes, choose Millennia today. Our software helps you increase digital engagement and create better patient journeys, which boosts your revenue streams. 

OrthoNY was able to generate $860,000 in additional revenue when they partnered with Millennia for A/R recovery processes.

Millennia Complete provides a comprehensive solution for a unified patient journey.

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To get started with Millennia, request a consultation today. Learn how you can say, “Now everything’s complete.”