Systems4PT’s Guide to Patient Billing and Collections
Part Two: Patient Payment Policy
A very important part of your patient billing process is your Patient Payment Policy. Your payment policy should be part of your clinic’s operations manual. It describes all aspects of your billing process. For the patient portion of billing, it specifies the minimum dollar amount that you will continue to make efforts to collect, the frequency of invoicing the patient, the number of dunning steps in your billing process, and whether or not you will add interest charges to past-due amounts and at what rate. If you plan to keep credit card information on file, it should specify your procedures for using this information and most importantly, how you are securing the credit card information. If you accept motor vehicle claims, it should state your policy on accepting assignment and any limitations your clinic has on the number of cases it will take at one time. If you accept Worker’s Compensation, you should state what your clinic’s policy is if the claim is later denied by the carrier. If you have a special discount for cash paying clients that pay at the time of service, this should be in your policy.
Once you have established your payment policy, you need to create a written summary that is provided to the patient. This should be written by your attorney and provided to every patient at the start of treatment. Your front desk representative should review the patient’s physical therapy benefits, as quoted by the insurance company, and the clinic’s payment policy, with each patient on their initial visit. The patient should sign an acknowledgment of receipt and understanding of this policy.
Here is a sample Patient Payment policy that you might give to your patient. This is from PhysiciansPractice.com.
Additional information you might want to include in the Payment Policy is your right add collection costs and interest on any delinquent debt and whom you will hold liable for the debt.
While we take reasonable action to provide accurate physical therapy benefit information for your plan, be aware that verification of benefits is not a guarantee of payment by your insurance carrier. In the event your account becomes delinquent and is therefore in default of payment, the patient, legal guardian, or admitting parent will be responsible for the principal amount owing, as well as all reasonable costs associated with the collection of this debt. This may include but is not limited to collection service fees, attorney’s fees, and all court costs and additional legal fees associated with the recovery of this debt. Interest may be charged at a rate of 1.5% per month (18% annually) for balances over thirty days old.
You may also find you need to add paragraphs related to specific types of payors such as Medicare, Worker’s Compensation, Motor Vehicle, and Self-Pay. Clearly state what your clinic’s policy and responsibility is, in accepting these types of payments.
Remember to consult with your attorney in developing this policy. It is a critical document for successfully pursuing patient debt.
If you would like a copy of this guide to download for your own personal reference, please use the download button below to obtain a copy in PDF format. Check back for more Systems4PT guides and updates!
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