With the finalized PAMA 2018 Clinical Lab Fee Schedule published, laboratory leaders are actively seeking new ways to offset the planned reduction in reimbursements for 2018. Be sure to include ensuring your laboratory is getting paid all that it is entitled to be paid to those plans. Optimized revenue cycle management (RCM) is often an untapped source of increasing reimbursements.
One area of accounts receivable that many labs far too often overlook are outstanding patient balances. With more patients choosing high deductible health coverage plans, patient balances are getting larger. Successful collection of patient balances begins with a comprehensive, end-to-end process based on a defined strategy, which begins when the patient is billed, not when accounts are 90 days past due.
Important aspects of a strategy may include:
- Defining and clearly communicating your credit collection policy to staff and customers. Collecting patient balances does not have to alienate ordering physicians or patients, once they understand that patients need to manage their oftentimes high deductibles.
- Taking data-supported actions. Monitor eligibility check reports, review reports for physicians routinely sending missing/inaccurate patient and/or insurance data on orders, monitor aging patient receivables for deviations in payment patterns, and ensure your staff know the appropriate procedures to take in response to late payments.
- Engage the patient. Rather than accepting that the patient will not pay, make the effort to collect. Establish payment plans that can be automated and tracked, use IVR to contact patients, accept credit card payments, and monitor and manage your team’s efforts to collect.
Developing a strategic policy to collect patient balances and implementing the processes to achieve the policy goals cannot be accomplished effectively with disconnected, legacy systems. XIFIN helps its laboratory clients employ a unique combination of automation, connectivity, and services to achieve significant improvements in collecting patient balances. See our success stories and case studies here.