And a host of other businesses have one very important thing in common. They get paid.
I realize there are exceptions. Sometimes these businesses don’t get paid for services rendered. But that’s the point, they are exceptions, not the norm, and they certainly don’t have a high percentage of their bills go unpaid.
Because each of the businesses in my list above do one very simple thing. They refuse to deliver goods or services without first ensuring they’ll be paid for them. And they ensure that payment by getting a credit card-on-file.
You and your medical practice can do the same thing. If you think about it, all of the services listed above are ‘self-pay’ services. The bill is entirely the responsibility of the person purchasing the service, just like your self-pay patients. They are entirely responsible for paying for their treatment.
If your practice were to adopt the Netflix model, it would mean every patient would give you a debit or credit card number, and permission to use that number for charges incurred, before you treated them.
Now, before you react, before you dismiss the idea as something your patients would never go for. Think about this. Just because you obtain the card-on-file, you are not obligated to use it. If the patient wishes to pay by check or cash, fine, let them. If they say they will pay but fail to pay by a certain date, you have a way to collect without further effort.
Mandating patients give a card-on-file does not need to feel like a tyrannical demand. Offering the options I mentioned is a good way to give patients the ability to chose how they wish to pay while holding them accountable to pay on time.
In addition to having a sure way to be paid, you have the ability to set up automated payment plans. If the patient can’t pay the entire bill at once, it can be split into equal payments and automatically collected using the card-on-file.
Self-pay patients shouldn’t create a drag on your practice. And you shouldn’t cringe when they want to make an appointment. Simply require the card-on-file for self-pay patients and turn them into sure-pay patients!