Personalizing the call

by Sid Bauer
(Phillippines)

What do you think is the best way to personalize the call when dealing with the patient?


Sid,

Thanks for the question. I assume you're referring to dealing with patients with regard to medical billing collection of their accounts - or past due amounts.

When dealing with a patient - either to obtain additional information so we can submit their claim - or for past due amounts, we try to remain as professional as possible. I always identify myself and the practice I am calling for.

With regard to patient balances, we as a billing service don't employ any hard collection tactics when dealing with patients. We perform what I would refer to as "Soft Collections".

This is usually a polite phone call to the patient where I identify myself as a representative of the providers office and just remind them that they have a balance due. Many patients will offer to pay right there.

It's usually something like:

"Hi - this is Gina calling on behalf of Dr. Jones office. We're just calling to remind you that you have a balance due of $100.00. Would you like to arrange payment terms for this amount today?"

Sometimes we'll send a letter with the patient statements - or put a note on the statement itself - reminding the patients with past due amounts that they will be turned over to collections. This is usually for the most delinquent accounts and is strictly the doctor's call. If they don't respond, we'll ask the doctor if they want to turn over to collections - and let them handle it from there.

It really depends on what the providers office wants to do. Usually with the most delinquent accounts, they will turn over to collections and try to get at least some payment for their services. But this is usually a last resort.

Hope this answers your question Sid - if not please let me know,

Thanks,

Gina

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Sep 08, 2010
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Soft Approach is Best
by: Karen

I agree that a "softer" approach when dealing with patients is the best tact for two reasons.

1) You're representing the provider and practice and don't want to get a patient mad over a small amount. There are patients who have large outstanding balances but most are fairely small and are willing to pay.

2) There are laws governing how collections have to be handled. You don't want to get you provider (or yourself) in any legal trouble in dealing with patient collections.

I've been on the receiving end of some very angry patient phone calls. As hard as it is you want to remain professional and diplomatic. They will usually calm down after a rant.

It's best to let a collection agency handle delinquent past due accounts. That's what they are experts at and paid for.

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