Tips for Managing Home Infusion Self-Pay
Collecting payments from patients can be a delicate process that requires respect, patience, and negotiation. Follow these strategies to ensure a smooth payment collection process.
1. Develop protocols and put them in writing
Providers need to have set guidelines to follow when billing patients, such as how to communicate, how many notices to send out, how to determine who qualifies for assistance or write-offs, and how to work with patients who can’t pay. The National Home Infusion Association (NHIA) suggests that guidelines be in writing and that employees be trained on the policies. Once these policies are in place, they can be used to guide each situation.
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- Invoices: Determine when to begin sending them, how many you will send, and when to supplement invoices with phone calls. Give patients plenty of opportunities to pay before you resort to sending their bills to a collection agency.
- Payment plans: Develop several options that your staff can offer to patients.
- Financial hardship: Establish the criteria to qualify. Generally, if all possible payment options have been exhausted, that may be the time to send a financial hardship package to gather information about income, expenses, bank statements, tax receipts, W-2s, etc., to verify inability to pay. The hardship should last one year, and it’s wise to require patients to reapply annually. Enter the start and end dates in your billing system.
2. Early communication
If possible, give patients estimates of how much each procedure will cost and how much of that is likely to be their responsibility.
- Find out what payers will cover and determine copays, so patients can consider their options and make plans accordingly.
- Be clear that the pricing could change if additional services are required, such as more tests needed for example.
Let patients know you’re willing to work with them and make payment arrangements that fit their budgets.
- Inform them of the options they have and offer suggestions for financial assistance resources that may be available for specific chronic conditions, and direct them where to go.
- Stay respectful and empathetic, and make it clear that you don’t want to have to send their debt to a collection agency and hurt their credit.
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