Patient collections: Train, then communicate

Q. How do I communicate my new ‘card on file’ policy?
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Monday, July 30, 2018

A. Once you’ve decided to implement a ‘card on file’ payment method, and you’ve begun changing internal processes, the next step should be to communicate this policy—the key in developing a successful automatic payment program.

Below are three ways to ensure successful communication:

Conduct proper training internally

Once you develop an internal policy, you must first communicate that policy company-wide. Designate the key staff members, and utilize them to lead the rest of the team. Develop useful tools to implement the new policy, and train staff on how to have financial conversations up front with patients. Your staff will ultimately be the ones accountable for carrying out the policy.

Send notices via patient communication externally

Next, develop an external policy for patient financial responsibility, and then communicate that policy to patients. Multiple methods can be used such as flyers, letters, email and web announcements. Help patients understand this new process, and inform them of the benefits such as the ease and convenience, savings on postage, etc. 

Communicate with referring physicians

Finally, it is important to have conversations with your referral sources, advising of your new policy—the earlier, the better. You can communicate the new ‘card on file’ program to referring physicians either with a face-to-face meeting or via a phone call. Remember they are collecting their copays upfront so why wouldn’t you. By notifying your referrals, you enhance the patient-provider experience and create an ideal billing experience for everyone involved.

By developing training for internal staff and communicating new guidelines with both patients and referral sources, you will ensure a successful transition to your new ‘card on file’ policy.