Business operations: Define your mission

Q. If I have collection procedures, do I need a collection policy?
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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A. Yes, a collection policy defines the mission and rules you want employees to follow to reach company goals. It guides employees on how to handle patient accounts and outlines your approach to balancing getting paid with customer satisfaction.

Policies will differ for each provider. For example, direct providers may demand more credit cards captured upfront versus providers receiving referrals or infusion providers, who are supporting end-of-life scenarios.  

Collection procedures detail the patient invoice workflow starting with the referral and ending with the balance being paid in full or written off as a bad debt. When creating or reviewing your workflow, you and your team can have a healthy discussion on how to handle a patient’s balance throughout the process. Here are some questions to consider as you are outlining the workflow. 

• What information is collected with each new order?

• Will credit card info be kept on file?

• What payment terms are offered?

• When and how to contact patients with balances?

• Will a new order be processed on accounts with an outstanding balance?

Answers should be clear, concise and easy to understand.

Before finalizing your policy and procedures, ask your accountant to identify topics unique to your business that should also be addressed.

Then, follow these four steps to keep your policy and procedures relevant:

• Train your staff

• Make the documents easy to access

• Hold employees accountable by measuring their adherence to the procedures 

• Review quarterly, updating the document and retraining staff as you make changes

Remember, these proactive steps will help improve your cash recovery.

The time you spend on these documents will reap benefits for your organization.

Anne Orrick is COO of Allegiance Group. Reach her at aorrick@allegiance-group.com