Maximize Patient Collections With These Tips

Maximize Patient Collection

As health plan deductibles rise and patient payment responsibility costs climb, maximizing patient collections becomes increasingly important. You may be reporting CPT® and ICD-10 codes accurately and quickly, and supporting those codes with immaculate documentation, but if you get sloppy with patients at the registration desk, you could be losing major money.

Start the Relationship on the Right Foot

When patients first schedule an appointment with your practice, have employees inform them of their payment responsibility. In fact, have the appointment scheduler also confirm the patient’s insurance coverage at the time of the appointment. Often patients have just acquired new insurance coverage and don’t have cards yet, but if the scheduler gets the insurer’s name, policy number, and date of eligibility up front, the practice has time to verify insurance before the first appointment.

Greet Patients at Front Desk, Get Their Information

When patients check in at the front desk for their appointments, staffers should collect and copy patient insurance cards and picture IDs. Don’t forget to collect additional appropriate documentation if a patient presents for a visit related to an auto accident or workers’ compensation claim.

Don’t forget to get patients to complete a medical history and sign notices of privacy practice forms before the appointment, too. You might also want to draft a short financial responsibility form for patients to sign. Keep it short and basic: “I understand that if my insurance company doesn’t pay for any or all parts of a service, I am financially responsible.”

And Then Collect the Copay

Some practices prefer to wait until after the service has been rendered, as the patient is leaving the office, to collect the copay. But there are good reasons to collect up front. First, there is a little bit of time built in before the appointment, and it’s convenient for patients to pay then. At the end of the appointment, patients may be in a rush to get to their next appointment or back to work. Sometimes patients might be preoccupied with information the doctor just gave them and simply forget to stop at the checkout desk and pay.

If You Missed a Copay or Deductible Opportunity, Send a Bill

Medicare’s Part B deductible in 2016 is $166—failing to collect the deductible for two patients a day, five days a week, adds up to $6,640 lost by the end of the month.

When Does Your Practice Collect the Copay?

I’ve noticed that some practices firmly believe in collecting copays at a specific time in the visit. How does your practice handle this? Do you have a preference either way as a patient? Let us know in the comment box below. We love to hear from you!

Interested in Improving Cash Collections? Check Out This Free SuperCoder Webinar!

Wondering how to maximize patient collections at at the time of service delivery and to set expectations for payment at the first encounter? Struggling with dropping bills fast to meet timely filing practices? Learn how to avoid mistakes to maximize patient collections! Join Keith Lilek, CEO of A/R Allegiance Group, LLC, a technology-based patient billing and collecting system, for this free one-hour webinar on Wednesday, January 20. Lunch and learn with us from 11 a.m. to noon Eastern. Register free today!


Susan taught health information and healthcare documentation at the community college level for more than 20 years. She has a special love for medical language and terminology. She is passionate about ensuring accurate patient healthcare documentation through education. She has a master's degree in healthcare administration, is a certified healthcare documentation specialist, and serves as immediate past president for the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).

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