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The Patient Collections Problem: How ASCs Increase Payment Rates

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April SackosASCs with a firm upfront collections policy and staff education on working with patient collections are more likely to collect higher payment rates than ASCs without a formal policy.

"Staff need clear expectations regarding upfront collections policies and need to feel comfortable discussing financial expectations with the patient," says Vice President of Revenue Cycle Management at Meridian Surgical Partners April Sackos. “Another way to enhance the patient financial counseling process is to make it convenient for the patient to make a payment. Web-based tools are a great option for patients to make a one-time electronic payment or set up a recurrent payment based on your payment plan guidelines.

"A lot of people are using automated systems for this information and reviewing forms with patients. For online payments, most vendors allow providers to use the same module as the patients use to check in. They can review the terms and expectations for payment. The program also informs them what would happen if they defaulted. Then they use an electronic signature signing they understand their payment terms and when payments are due."

A strong patient collections policy includes upfront collection policies and payment plan guidelines. Staff members are also well-versed in the next steps to take if patients are unable to pay their estimated responsibility.  

"The policy should also include how to handle accounts that default, do not respond to statements or phone calls and when the business office manager or administrator needs to intervene," says Ms. Sackos. With these tools in place, ASCs can increase upfront payments and a more efficient revenue cycle.

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