What accounts receivable can do to streamline medical bill payments

Feb 4, 2014 | Hospital Finance Efficiency

If your medical facility is having a problem getting patients to pay their bills, you're not alone. Altogether, health care practices in the United States have about half of their outstanding bills sent off to collection agencies, Fox Business reports.

In regards to why this problem is so widespread greatly differs. Sometimes practices see a large influx of patients and are unable to keep up with demand to process medical bills while others are battling with non-compliant patients. Because of this ongoing problem, medical facilities are losing out about $322 billion dollars in 2013, which is greater than debt from banks.

To make things even more confusing, the news source found that there is no national standard on how long accounts receivable management waits before sending bills off to collections

"It varies greatly among provider types and across regions of the country," Fox Business contributor from credit.com wrote.

Because of this uncertainty, some staffers might send their bills to collections sooner than others. We recommend developing a standardized strategy and communicating that with your patient population, ensuring that both parties are always on the same page.

Non profit hospitals, for example, are legally obligated to share their rules for providing financial assistance and and billing collection policies to the patient population. Perhaps this open path of communication may encourage them to enroll into an extended payment plan, reducing the practice's backlog of outstanding payments.

However, if your staff has taken the proper steps to accurately bill patients, based on information from their insurance provider, and failed to get in touch with these payors, there is another alternative: outsourcing medical claims management can reduce the burden of unpaid bills.