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Patient Payments Blog

One Call Collections for Past Due Balances

Posted by Jim Turner

Aug 1, 2017 9:37:00 AM

 Collecting past due balances just got easier. The old way of collecting was an intense amount of work. It looked something like this.

  1. Call (usually several times before anyone would answer)
  2. Ask (nicely) for payment
  3. Listen to excuses
  4. Get an arrangement for payment (usually partial and not today)
  5. Record the arrangement and wait for a check
  6. Check to see if the check came on the promised date
  7. No check – start at #1
  8. Partial check – start at #1
  9. And on and on until the balance is paid 

Stop Burning Up The Phones.png

Of course, this is just the phone portion of the effort. You will be sending statements, notices, letters, and email reminders for payment while trying to make phone contact. The overall effort to collect past due balances is an expensive and exhausting exercise.

Let’s simplify all that down to one call. Provided you actually talk to the past due patient, your efforts can stop after this one call. How does it work? It works the same as the list above for the first two steps but on Step 3 everything changes.

  1. Call (usually several times before anyone answers)
  2. Ask (nicely) for payment
  3. Listen to excuses…and then solve the problem
  • I can’t pay today
  • I can’t pay till _____ (date in the future)
  • I can only pay $____(amount less than balance)
  1. You respond, ‘NO PROBLEM! We can set your payment for any date and amount. Can you pay $50 (or appropriate payment amount) on the 30th? I can set this up in our system to happen automatically. That way it’s taken care of and I won’t have to call you again!’ Done! You are now the hero. 

The beautiful part about this one call solution is that it doesn’t matter what the past due patient says about when and how much they can pay. You can set up payments for whenever and whatever amount is needed (or your office policy allows). If they can’t pay till next month, no problem. If they can only pay in amounts that take ten payments to satisfy the balance, no problem. You have the power to end the cycle of chasing money on this call. Set it and forget it – the system makes sure the money leaves their account and goes into your practice account – no further action from you required.

What’s that you said? Your system doesn’t do that? You mean you can’t set up payments that happen automatically for anytime in the future and for any money amount? Now, that’s a problem. That negates the whole one call promise. I guess you’re back to the first list.  



Topics: healthcare payments, Patient Balances, Patient Collections, Medical Billing Solutions, Patient Payments, Patient Payment Policies, Patient Collections Culture, Past Due, Payments

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