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COLLECTING ACCOUNTS
RECEIVABLE
SUCCESSFULLY
Prepared for the
Southern Piedmont
Partnership for
Public Health
Incubator Project
Finance Focus Group
by Kathy Hartsell
TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN
COLLECTING
The process starts before the patient even
comes in the door.
EXPECTATIONS
Where do we get our expectations? From
our eligibility, debt management, fee, bad
debt write off and any fina...
HOW TO GREET A PATIENT
When a patient presents at the front desk
greet patients warmly.
Always acknowledge the patient.
THE INTRODUCTION
Good morning. My name is Melissa,
welcome to the Cabarrus Health Alliance, I
will be checking you in toda...
MAKE YOUR PATIENT FEEL
COMFORTABLE
They may be apprehensive about being
here.
PRINCIPLES OF
COLLECTION
MANAGEMENT
COLLECT MONEY
BE:
Professional
Pleasant
Persistent
THE THREE V’S OF
COMMUNICATION
Verbal – 7% - What you say
Vocal – 37% - How we use our voice
Visual – 56% - What people se...
COMMUNICATION IS
IMPORTANT
Tone of voice should be friendly.
Do not sound cold or abrupt.
Must be knowledgeable about your...
ALWAYS SMILE
Whether you are on the phone or in person,
smiling has a positive effect on collecting
money.
EYE-CONTACT
When face-to-face, the look
in your eyes while
collecting should reveal
that you genuinely expect
that he/she ...
BE PROFESSIONAL
Be courteous even when a patient gets
nasty.
Being too aggressive can hurt your
collection efforts.
BE A GOOD LISTENER
Always keep in mind that people are often
dealing with health issues and other
problems.
Express compas...
COMMON PROBLEMS THAT
CAUSE REVENUE LOSSES
Failure to collect patient’s
previous balances.
Not obtaining current
patient in...
ELIGIBILITY
Must be done correctly to achieve
appropriate sliding scale.
INSURANCE
Must be verified before patient is seen.
Be sure to make a copy of the card front
and back.
Complete the insuran...
BE SURE TO COLLECT
THOSE COPAYMENTS
The cost of sending out statements for copays is
expensive and seldom results in colle...
MEDICAID
At each visit check the Medicaid card for:
Eligible dates
Managed care information
Insurance information
Change i...
WHAT IF THEY FAIL TO
BRING THEIR CARD
Enforce the need for patients to bring their
cards when they come in for services.
V...
WHAT IF YOU CAN’T VERIFY
MEDICAID INFORMATION
Have patient bring in letter they received form
DSS confirming they are Medi...
ASKING
PATIENTS FOR
MONEY
HOW DO YOU ASK FOR MONEY
When a patient checks out, tell them
amount owed and ask if they want to pay by
cash, check or cr...
“I’VE NEVER HAD TO PAY AT THE
TIME OF SERVICE BEFORE.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN I HAVE TO
PAY TODAY?”

What would you say in respon...
“I CAN’T PAY IN FULL” OR “I
DON’T HAVE THE MONEY”
“Our program services are based on a sliding scale
fee to reduce your fe...
“SEND BILL NO MONEY
TODAY”
Were you not told you would be expected to pay
today? If they reply “no”. Apologize and give
th...
SYSTEMATIC FOLLOW-UP
Example: “I will mail a check in two days.”
Your response should be to:
Call them if you don’t receiv...
DISCUSSING THE ACCOUNT
Get people to talk by asking questions.
Don’t ask closed in questions that only
require a yes or no...
“HAVE A LOT OF BILLS TO PAY.
JUST HAD A BABY AND HAVE A
LOT OF HOSPITAL BILLS”
I understand you have a lot of bills to pay...
WHAT IS A NEGOTIATION
Something you are willing to give up to
gain.
CREATIVE THINKING IS
NEGOTIATION
Understand the goals of the other person.
Determine your own goals.
Establish a range bet...
HOW DO YOU RESPOND?
If someone tells you they are short on cash, ask how
much are you short.
Persuade patients to pay with...
RESPONSES
If they ask “How much do I have to pay?”
Start high instead of low. Be a negotiator.
Ask for $40 instead or $5 o...
PARAPHRASING
Take what the other person is saying and give
back to them.
“I don’t have money to pay.” “I understand you
sa...
WHEN THE PATIENT LEAVES
WITHOUT PAYING…
Collection is expensive!!
Avg processing cost for self payers = $8
In 3 months tim...
Once they have left the office, chances of
getting paid by self-payers could be cut in
half.
After the 60-day mark the cha...
CHANCES OF COLLECTING FROM
THE CREDIT RESEARCH BUREAU
1 – 60 days past due:90%
61 – 90 days past due:50%
91 – 180 days pas...
NO FORWARDING ADDRESS
Currently, over
$60,000 of debt is in
accounts receivables.
Update address.
ADDRESSING OLD
BALANCES
Patient may have and old balance but does not
want to pay because they are now 0%.
Inform patient ...
EXCUSES
Determine if it is an excuse or reality.
Eliminate the excuse so you never have to
hear it again.
Think ahead to t...
EXCUSE OR REALITY?
I don’t have money to pay.
Ask why they don’t have money to pay.
Make monthly payment schedule until
th...
GET CLOSURE
Seal the deal.
Need a commitment for the agreement.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH AN
IRATE CLIENT?
Patients sometimes get mad with you
because they owe you money and want to
get out of...
COOLING TIPS FOR THE
IRATE
Actually lower your voice and speak slowly.
Stay personal and use their name.
Don’t get angry a...
Document
Document, Document, Document!
Always note when you have talked with a
patient regarding their account. Good
recor...
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE
BILLS STAND OUT
Stickers on bills (Insurance obligation and
patient obligation).
Colored stateme...
HAVE GOOD REVENUE CYCLE
MANAGEMENT
Measure performance on:
Collections
Claim submissions
Denials
FAIR DEBT COLLECTION
PRACTICES ACT
This act requires that debt collectors treat
you fairly and prohibits certain methods o...
HOW MAY A DEBT COLLECTOR
CONTACT YOU?
A collector may contact you in person, by
mail, telephone, telegram, or fax. However...
CAN YOU STOP A DEBT
COLLECTOR FROM
CONTACTING YOU?
You can stop a debt collector from contacting you
by writing a letter t...
MAY A DEBT COLLECTOR
CONTACT ANYONE ELSE
ABOUT YOUR DEBT?
If you have an attorney, the debt collector must
contact the att...
WHAT TYPES OF DEBT
COLLECTION PRACTICES ARE
PROHIBITED?
Harassment. Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or
abuse you ...
UNFAIR PRACTICES
Collect any amount greater than your debt, unless your
state law permits such a charge.
Deposit a post-da...
REMEMBER
Salary adjustments are
based on the year end
results so how well we
collect does have an
impact on ourselves
and ...
Information Sources
Collecting Accounts Receivable, presented by
National Seminars group a division of Rockhurst
Universit...
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Debt Collecting Presentation

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The debt collection industry has changed significantly over the past ten years. The impact of technology on debt collection practices, industry consolidation

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Debt Collecting Presentation

  1. 1. COLLECTING ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE SUCCESSFULLY
  2. 2. Prepared for the Southern Piedmont Partnership for Public Health Incubator Project Finance Focus Group by Kathy Hartsell
  3. 3. TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN COLLECTING The process starts before the patient even comes in the door.
  4. 4. EXPECTATIONS Where do we get our expectations? From our eligibility, debt management, fee, bad debt write off and any financial policy information forms that our patients sign. Be sure patient knows what our expectations are when appointment is made and at time of eligibility.
  5. 5. HOW TO GREET A PATIENT When a patient presents at the front desk greet patients warmly. Always acknowledge the patient.
  6. 6. THE INTRODUCTION Good morning. My name is Melissa, welcome to the Cabarrus Health Alliance, I will be checking you in today.
  7. 7. MAKE YOUR PATIENT FEEL COMFORTABLE They may be apprehensive about being here.
  8. 8. PRINCIPLES OF COLLECTION MANAGEMENT
  9. 9. COLLECT MONEY BE: Professional Pleasant Persistent
  10. 10. THE THREE V’S OF COMMUNICATION Verbal – 7% - What you say Vocal – 37% - How we use our voice Visual – 56% - What people see when we speak words
  11. 11. COMMUNICATION IS IMPORTANT Tone of voice should be friendly. Do not sound cold or abrupt. Must be knowledgeable about your agency. Must have enthusiasm.
  12. 12. ALWAYS SMILE Whether you are on the phone or in person, smiling has a positive effect on collecting money.
  13. 13. EYE-CONTACT When face-to-face, the look in your eyes while collecting should reveal that you genuinely expect that he/she should pay for the service that was provided.
  14. 14. BE PROFESSIONAL Be courteous even when a patient gets nasty. Being too aggressive can hurt your collection efforts.
  15. 15. BE A GOOD LISTENER Always keep in mind that people are often dealing with health issues and other problems. Express compassion for someone’s situation. Never assume a patient is intentionally not paying until you have taken the time to listen.
  16. 16. COMMON PROBLEMS THAT CAUSE REVENUE LOSSES Failure to collect patient’s previous balances. Not obtaining current patient information. Lack of, or inconsistencies in collecting copays.
  17. 17. ELIGIBILITY Must be done correctly to achieve appropriate sliding scale.
  18. 18. INSURANCE Must be verified before patient is seen. Be sure to make a copy of the card front and back. Complete the insurance verification form. Always verify who the insurance benefits will go to. Document insurance info in the PMS.
  19. 19. BE SURE TO COLLECT THOSE COPAYMENTS The cost of sending out statements for copays is expensive and seldom results in collection. Small amounts due are often ignored by the patient. They assume the amount is an error or does not want to be bothered to write a check, mail or use a stamp for such a small balance. Practices that do not collect copays are violating their contracts with payers who require them.
  20. 20. MEDICAID At each visit check the Medicaid card for: Eligible dates Managed care information Insurance information Change in recipient’s name Month card was issued
  21. 21. WHAT IF THEY FAIL TO BRING THEIR CARD Enforce the need for patients to bring their cards when they come in for services. Verify SIPS
  22. 22. WHAT IF YOU CAN’T VERIFY MEDICAID INFORMATION Have patient bring in letter they received form DSS confirming they are Medicaid eligible. If you can not verify Medicaid eligibility, then offer sliding scale fee. If no proof of income patient will be placed at 100% until verified, except for programs or if your policies that state you will accept declaration of income.
  23. 23. ASKING PATIENTS FOR MONEY
  24. 24. HOW DO YOU ASK FOR MONEY When a patient checks out, tell them amount owed and ask if they want to pay by cash, check or credit card, then wait for them to reply. Do not say another word! The collector’s adage: The next person who speaks, loses! So let them speak next.
  25. 25. “I’VE NEVER HAD TO PAY AT THE TIME OF SERVICE BEFORE. WHAT DO YOU MEAN I HAVE TO PAY TODAY?” What would you say in response?
  26. 26. “I CAN’T PAY IN FULL” OR “I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY” “Our program services are based on a sliding scale fee to reduce your fee based on your eligibility and this is what you are expected to pay” Review eligibility with them. “We do accept credit card payments”. Negotiate with them “If you pay half today, we’ll send a bill for the balance due in 30 days.”
  27. 27. “SEND BILL NO MONEY TODAY” Were you not told you would be expected to pay today? If they reply “no”. Apologize and give them our expectations. If you can not get money, get a commitment from patient and follow-up. Make notation in your patient management system of this excuse.
  28. 28. SYSTEMATIC FOLLOW-UP Example: “I will mail a check in two days.” Your response should be to: Call them if you don’t receive a check. If you don’t, you lose credibility. Remember, you are in competition with other creditors!
  29. 29. DISCUSSING THE ACCOUNT Get people to talk by asking questions. Don’t ask closed in questions that only require a yes or no answer. Ask open end questions where they will have to talk.
  30. 30. “HAVE A LOT OF BILLS TO PAY. JUST HAD A BABY AND HAVE A LOT OF HOSPITAL BILLS” I understand you have a lot of bills to pay but ours is just as important as any of bills you may have. You are expected to pay on this bill. (This is where you use your negotiation skills) How much can you pay us?
  31. 31. WHAT IS A NEGOTIATION Something you are willing to give up to gain.
  32. 32. CREATIVE THINKING IS NEGOTIATION Understand the goals of the other person. Determine your own goals. Establish a range between your goals and the other persons goals. Identify what goals can be left unmet. Think of alternate ways of collecting the debt. Help clients realize that the debts must be paid and you are willing to work with their problems. Look at the issue from their point of view.
  33. 33. HOW DO YOU RESPOND? If someone tells you they are short on cash, ask how much are you short. Persuade patients to pay with a credit card. Get them to commit a date to pay amount owed. Try not to go beyond 30 days. Document and follow-up.
  34. 34. RESPONSES If they ask “How much do I have to pay?” Start high instead of low. Be a negotiator. Ask for $40 instead or $5 or $10. If they say they can’t pay $40, ask for $30.
  35. 35. PARAPHRASING Take what the other person is saying and give back to them. “I don’t have money to pay.” “I understand you said you don’t have money to pay but there is a charge on our service.” “I have too many bills to pay.” “I understand about your bills but we do expect payment for our services.”
  36. 36. WHEN THE PATIENT LEAVES WITHOUT PAYING… Collection is expensive!! Avg processing cost for self payers = $8 In 3 months time, $24 on one person is spent. Average cost of 800 bills per month • $6,400 per month. • 3 months time = $19,200 About 20% of what practices collect is spent on going after receivables.
  37. 37. Once they have left the office, chances of getting paid by self-payers could be cut in half. After the 60-day mark the chances drop drastically.
  38. 38. CHANCES OF COLLECTING FROM THE CREDIT RESEARCH BUREAU 1 – 60 days past due:90% 61 – 90 days past due:50% 91 – 180 days past due: 20% (1 in 5)
  39. 39. NO FORWARDING ADDRESS Currently, over $60,000 of debt is in accounts receivables. Update address.
  40. 40. ADDRESSING OLD BALANCES Patient may have and old balance but does not want to pay because they are now 0%. Inform patient of old balance and state that balance should have been paid during that time frame. It was determined that you could pay during that time and you do owe that balance. Start negotiations.
  41. 41. EXCUSES Determine if it is an excuse or reality. Eliminate the excuse so you never have to hear it again. Think ahead to the next excuse you might hear and eliminate it now. Create a sense of urgency about getting your bill paid.
  42. 42. EXCUSE OR REALITY? I don’t have money to pay. Ask why they don’t have money to pay. Make monthly payment schedule until things pick up. Sound as if your doing them a favor.
  43. 43. GET CLOSURE Seal the deal. Need a commitment for the agreement.
  44. 44. WHAT DO YOU DO WITH AN IRATE CLIENT? Patients sometimes get mad with you because they owe you money and want to get out of paying their bill. Remember you are a professional. Stay in control.
  45. 45. COOLING TIPS FOR THE IRATE Actually lower your voice and speak slowly. Stay personal and use their name. Don’t get angry and avoid humor. Passing client on to colleague often changes their tone.
  46. 46. Document Document, Document, Document! Always note when you have talked with a patient regarding their account. Good record keeping is a must because you may need to review payment history and excuses they have given you in the past.
  47. 47. THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE BILLS STAND OUT Stickers on bills (Insurance obligation and patient obligation). Colored statements. Yellow highlights on statements.
  48. 48. HAVE GOOD REVENUE CYCLE MANAGEMENT Measure performance on: Collections Claim submissions Denials
  49. 49. FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT This act requires that debt collectors treat you fairly and prohibits certain methods of debt collection. Of course, the law does not erase any legitimate debt you owe.
  50. 50. HOW MAY A DEBT COLLECTOR CONTACT YOU? A collector may contact you in person, by mail, telephone, telegram, or fax. However, a debt collector may not contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree. A debt collector also may not contact you at work if the collector knows that your employer disapproves of such contact.
  51. 51. CAN YOU STOP A DEBT COLLECTOR FROM CONTACTING YOU? You can stop a debt collector from contacting you by writing a letter to the collector telling them to stop. Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again except to say there will be no further contact or to notify you that the debt collector intends to take some specific action. Please note, however, that sending such a letter to a collector does not make the debt go away if you actually owe it. You could still be sued by the debt collector or your original creditor.
  52. 52. MAY A DEBT COLLECTOR CONTACT ANYONE ELSE ABOUT YOUR DEBT? If you have an attorney, the debt collector must contact the attorney, rather than you. If you do not have an attorney, a collector may contact other people, but only to find out where you live, what your phone number is, and where you work. Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting such third parties more than once. In most cases, the collector may not tell anyone other than you and your attorney that you owe money.
  53. 53. WHAT TYPES OF DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ARE PROHIBITED? Harassment. Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact. Use threats of violence or harm. Publish a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts (except a credit bureau). Use obscene or profane language, or repeatedly, use the telephone to annoy someone.
  54. 54. UNFAIR PRACTICES Collect any amount greater than your debt, unless your state law permits such a charge. Deposit a post-dated check prematurely. Use deception to make you accept collect calls or pay for telegrams. Take or threaten to take your property unless this can be done legally. Contact you by postcard.
  55. 55. REMEMBER Salary adjustments are based on the year end results so how well we collect does have an impact on ourselves and everyone we work with.
  56. 56. Information Sources Collecting Accounts Receivable, presented by National Seminars group a division of Rockhurst University Continuing Education Center, Inc. U. S. Department of Commerce Credit Research Bureau Physicians Practice March/April 2002 issue Fair debt collection.com Focusing on Front Desk Collections: Balancing Effectiveness with Compassion Webcast – Health Resources and Services Administration

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