One of the side effects of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is in patient payments. With rising deductibles, patients are often paying for a much greater portion of their yearly medical costs. For practice managers and financial leaders, how to best oversee revenue cycle management with regard to point of service patient payments has been made a priority.
In order to flourish in this new healthcare landscape, many providers are turning to point of service systems which enable a patient's payment information to be captured upon check-in. As the patient-responsible portion of payments becomes a more significant portion of total revenue, technology that proactively collects these types of payments from patients is a necessity.
Securing Card on File at Point of Service
Card on file systems have been in place in many practices for a number of years. This method of payment works in a fairly straightforward manner - patients supply a credit or debit card which payments can be deducted from automatically. That information stays with the practice so that patient portions can be immediately paid at the time of service. For patients who will owe larger bills, practice managers can arrange payment schedules with patients and there can be a set cap on the amount that the practice will deduct at any one time.
Card on file systems can encrypt the patient's information so that patients feel more confident in supplying sensitive financial data. While there are a number of ways to streamline patient payment arrangements, card on file has a number of benefits to both the practice and the patient.
Benefits to Securing Payments Upfront
Point of service payment systems offer a number of advantages for both the practice and the patient.
1. Decreases non-payment. While there will be the occasional instances where the card is no longer valid, those cases can often be attributed to patients not updating card information and can be remedied quickly. Collecting a patient's payment information at check-in significantly diminishes late payments and allows practices to directly withdraw fees for no shows.
2. Budget friendly for patients. Implementing a point of service system allows your financial managers the opportunity to sit down with patients in advance and work out a budget friendly schedule for payment. This way, patients are more comfortable and know what their responsibility is prior to treatment.
3. Eliminates bill mailings. There's no need for the clerical work or mailing costs associated with traditional billing if payments are directly withdrawn through a point of service payment systems.
4. Streamlines clerical end. Once the system is in place, there's far less manual work for the office staff. This allows them to focus on other tasks that more directly impact improving the quality of care you provide to your patients.
5. Puts the patient first. Point of service systems are above all, patient-friendly. They allow patients to have access to all of their related healthcare information and provide guidance as to how to manage their healthcare experience. More systems are enabling mobile applications and web portals for even more convenience. Patients can log in and access their information from anywhere with these capabilities, allowing them to better manage their budget and overall health.
Collecting patient payment information such as a card on file at the point of service will diminish the outstanding patient balances associated with back end billing that was once commonplace. It's an excellent addition to revenue cycle management protocol for any size practice or health organization and will only grow in popularity as more patients demand a retail-ish experience from their healthcare providers.
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