Once your policy is in place, you must develop a “collections culture” that values great customer service and efficient collections of AR – and makes both things a priority! Creating a collections culture means having a consistent vision and knowing how you’d like everyone to view your company. This means your staff must know to explain the patient’s financial responsibility and be comfortable asking for a payment.
If you are asking your staff to take on new tasks, start with small goals. Focus on one area, such as collecting payment info. For example, you can establish the goal for every employee to collect payment information from every patient. Track the activity and reward the employees who collect required information. This way you will reward the desired behavior and will reinforce good habits. Simple incentives such as gift cards, movie passes, or even a pizza party can reap big rewards!
When it comes to leading your team, Allegiance Group suggests using both “push” and “pull” strategies. Need a refresher on push-vs- pull leadership strategies? This article provides four opposed, but complementary, coaching examples.
Don’t be deterred by one method over the other. Choose which is best for your team and move forward confidently. If you’re unsure about your best leadership strategy, our team can help talk you through these options… whether you’re a client or not! Please reach out to Bruce Gehring at 913-338-4790 x202 to talk through more strategies you can try to influence change in your company.
“Pushing” your team to change their habits
- Weekly review of intake team numbers. Celebrate winners. We like Fridays!
- Rewrite job descriptions to include specifics
- Set an aggressive short-term goal for team leaders
“Pulling” your team to be mindful of a collections culture
- Build a collections graph to track the % of co-insurance that your team collects
- Create mutually shared values and guiding principles together
- Appreciate the work and the individual
- Coach employees who are not embracing change
- Recognize activities that reinforce your culture
- Outline a simple rewards program for your team. We like these 52 ideas from Insperity!
No matter if you push or pull, changes will only happen if you make the commitment to analyze the efforts and data that come from the team’s effort. If you’re the director of change, the best place to start is with yourself. Many billing software programs track who enters information into the system. If one of your employees is not reaching his/her goals, have a coaching process in place to help.
Don’t forget about your patients!
Once your internal team is confident in what they’re doing and why it’s important, you’ll need to focus on changing patient expectations. In the past, many companies did not worry about collecting the patient balance until after the insurance portion was paid. Today, it is more common for providers to ask for payment upfront, so patients are becoming more accustom to paying their share before the service is provided.
What if the patient gets upset when you ask for payment?
Lay out a plan to explain to your patients why you’ve made any changes. Train your employees to be empathetic to your patient’s concerns. This will help reduce the frustration level of your patient and allow them to compassionately set up a payment plan.
Five things you can do to help change your patient’s expectations:
1. Make sure your employees can clearly explain how much the patient owes for the equipment that’s recommended. This includes using your billing software or up-to-date deductible, co-pay and co-insurance coverage information to calculate the patient’s balance.
2. Communicate payment schedules to the patient from the first conversation – even if you don’t yet have a full estimate of benefits. Let them know that payment is due upon service and if there will be any additional bills over time in their case. It doesn’t have to be extraordinarily detailed – but repetition and transparency are important.
3. Post signs that say “Payment is due at the time service is provided.”
4. Get payment information as soon as you can. Make sure you can store the information securely – you can use a payment portal or software, like COLLECTPlus, to store the information early in the order delivery process.
5. Offer a variety of payment options, including payment plans. Some companies now even accept PayPal 😊
Want to learn more?
Read Jeremy Bloom’s article, 6 Steps for Creating a Strong Company Culture, for ideas you can include in your company culture to create a thriving business.