Choose your private pay billing partner wisely

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Are you struggling trying to collect your private pay balances?

If so, you are not alone. Outstanding private pay balances can create problems for business small and large. Your staff gets too busy to mail statements or make collection calls.  And in the back of your mind you know the longer a balance goes unpaid, the harder it will be to collect. Where can you turn for help?

A billing and collection partner can help you get your statements mailed on time and can generate several touches to remind your client of their outstanding private pay balance, which results in you collecting more cash faster, using fewer resources from your office.

Here are the five areas you should consider when selecting a partner:

Experience

Make certain the company is experienced in collecting outstanding balances in the HME industry and can show results.

Philosophy

The growth of your business depends on repeat customers. Any partner is an extension of your reputation, so make certain your clients will be treated with respect. The biggest tools that billing and collection companies use to reach out to your clients are invoices and phone calls.  Ask for a copy of their invoice and phone scripts. As you review them, ask yourself the following questions: Are the invoices clear and easy to understand? Are they printed in color? Do they send out paper statements? Electronic? Both? Can you easily access a copy of the statement? Will your clients receive a recorded message, or talk to a representative? Do you like the tone of voice they will use with your clients? Can they take payments over the phone or online? Do they direct your clients to your website to make payments? Can you access a recording of the call if your client has a question? Do the telephone representatives receive ongoing training? Note: The company’s timeline should flexible to meet the needs of your business.

Services/integration

Integrations streamline the flow of data so your client services team will have current information to better serve your patient. Is their billing system integrated with your insurance processing software?  Do they use an application program interface (API)? Ask how it works, i.e., “How often are payments/charges posted?” Can the company securely store the credit card and banking information you collect at the time of service? Do they offer a payment portal with your look and feel? What reporting is available to track their performance?

Fees

When you compare costs, here’s what to expect: For accounts less than 90 days old, a flat fee per piece to cover printing, supplies and mailing costs.  For accounts 90 to 360 days old, a percentage (10-30%) of the collected amount. For accounts more than 360 days old, contingency fees can range from 25-50% and are based on factors such as how many times the client has been contacted, the age of the outstanding balance, etc.

References

Take the time to check the company’s references.  The comments will probably be positive, but you can still find out how a vendor will work with you by asking the right questions: Does the company respond to your calls and emails in a timely fashion? Has the company met their goals or service level agreements? Can you track the collection results through adhoc reports, or do you have to wait for them to send you a report? Have you had a client issue with the company?  If so, was it resolved to your satisfaction?

Why take the time to go through this process? 

Here are a few of the benefits of hiring a billing and collections partner: You can stay focused on your business. You can apply your billing guidelines automatically. Your business can improve its cashflow. Your staff can spend time on activities to increase the bottom line. Your patients enjoy a variety of payment options with a payment portal

Bruce Gehring is senior vice president, business development, for Allegiance Group. Since joining Allegiance in 2008, he has been responsible for developing and implementing sales and marketing strategies, identifying new market opportunities and forming strategic marketing alliances to strengthen the company’s market position. You can reach him at bgehring@allegiance-group.comor 913-338-4790, x202.