In response to the continued increase in patient payment responsibility and rising bad debt across the healthcare industry, more and more providers are collecting patient balances during pre-service and point-of-service interactions – and with good reason.
A strong point-of-service or pre-service collection strategy can significantly boost cash flow. Help reduce your overhead costs. And minimize interaction with customer service later in the revenue cycle – reducing mailing costs and bad debt.
But to be successful, your registration staff needs to be able to overcome objections when asking for payment. So before you start comparing the features of point-of-service payment solutions, be sure to lay the ground work for success.
Here are 3 ways to empower your staff to ask for money at the point-of-service.
1. Set patient expectations
Patients are less likely to resist paying for care at the point of service when they have been made aware of their payment responsibilities ahead of time. Therefore, by informing patients of their financial obligation and setting payment arrangements prior to admission, it becomes easier for registration staff to ask for payment on the day of service.
Also, in setting patient expectations you will need to ensure that clinical staff and your registration team are on the same page. If doctors and physicians are telling patients not to worry about their bill, this gives patients an added objection and can directly impact your point-of-service collection efforts.
To remove any potential roadblocks, you may need to develop a cross functional team of patient access managers and clinical department managers. This ensures patients are receiving a cohesive message about their payment responsibilities.
2. Invest in staff training
A well-trained staff is fundamental to successful point-of-service collections. This means not only providing the proper user training on your POS payment application, but establishing scripted collection guidelines. A simple web search can provide you with several examples of point-of-service collection scripting, but at its core, the script should allow your staff to educate the patient on their financial responsibilities and help explain them. In addition, to ensure a quality patient interaction, your scripting should avoid using de-motivating statements such as:
- “You need to…”
- “We require…”
- “You have to…”
- “Our policy states…”
Set up role-playing training sessions in which your staff uses your point-of-service collection scripting to overcome specific patient objections. Instilling confidence in your staff’s ability to ask for payment will be vital to the success of your point of service initiatives.
3. Provide payment alternatives
Once your staff has been trained, it is important to enable them with the tools needed to overcome the objections they will encounter when asking for payment. This includes payment alternatives such as setting patients up on a payment plan if patients insist they are unable to pay the full balance up front.
Or, if patients insist they do not have the money on them, expand your payment options. Accepting all payment methods, including cash, credit card, debit card, and check, and having an ATM on site can help staff overcome this objection. A best-in-class point-of-service payment solution should be able to offer this type of payment flexibility.
So, while there’s no shortage of point-of-service payment solutions on the market today, the true secret to success is building a team that can maximize the potential of your solution.