Dealing with patients' default on hospital bills
Written by Tina Samuels
How Do You Handle Patients That Don’t Pay Their Bills?
Health care providers often deal with patients that cannot pay their bills.
Sadly, this is often due to the fact that they are ill, sometimes too ill to work. When the patient cannot work, it can be hard to pay any bills, especially if they lose their health insurance.
Then there are those that just do not pay their bills because they forget or have their priorities out of order. Many people with health insurance believe their insurer will cover all costs and are surprised to learn about co-pays. Perhaps they are unable to meet their deductible or 'forget'.
The bottom line, don't let these expenses add up on your practice.
Decide what type of collection procedures your office will use. This could range from reminder letters to which collection company you will use.
Private practices can also make the decision to ask the patient to find another practice if they are chronically late on payments or if they do not make any effort to meet their responsibility.
When you have your procedures in place, advise patients before they schedule an appointment of your payment policies. If co-pays are due up front, mention this at the beginning of the scheduling conversation and at the end of the call. Have a sign posted by the front desk or reception area with your procedures outlined.
All patients have preferred methods of payment.
Set up plans for those that have high costs out of pocket. Payment plans help all patients stay current with their bills. It is preferable to receive portions of payments than to have unpaid invoices.
Credit cards, bank cards, and check can be used by most patients.
Cash is an option for others. Many people use online payment systems such as PayPal. It may be in your best interest to set up a PayPal account for your practice and allow patients to pay using this service before a visit or at the front desk.
When Invoices Are Due
Those patients that are unable to pay or have not made an effort should be contacted. A phone call from your billing office may be the best option.
Your collection representatives should make every effort to help the patient pay their bill. Offering a discount on high bills may help. As noted above, some people are unable to work due to illness. For these patients, you may need to give them more time to pay than other patients.
Ill patients out of work may be waiting for state insurance or for a disability claim to come through.
In these cases you may be able to collect payment from the state or by giving the patient time to receive their disability payments. Offer payment plans tailored to their new budget which is likely to be small.
Patients that are forgetful may benefit from auto-billing. Talk to them about a payment plan that can auto-bill their bank account or credit card. This will help them meet payment deadlines and avoid loss for your practice.
Other patients that just chronically avoid paying bills may need to be asked to find another practice and you can hire a collection agency to buy out the bill.
About the Author
Tina Samuels writes on small business, marketing, social media, home improvements, and budget help.
LG launches purpose-built smart TV for hospitals
LG Business Solutions USA has announced two new hospital TVs that are designed to improve patient management and engagement while adhering to critical safety standards for healthcare facilities.
One of the TVs is LG's biggest ever screen for a hospital - the 65-inch 4K Ultra HD model. It has LG’s NanoCell display technology, enabling it to display vivid pictures, and provides built-in support for hospital pillow speakers and embedded broadband LAN capability, so hospitals can deliver video on demand without requiring a separate set-top box in the patient room.
It also includes configuration software with an intuitive interface for setting up the TV to work in a hospital setting, plus a software-enabled access point feature that turns the TV into a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The second TV screen is the 15-inch Personal Healthcare Smart Touch TV with a multi-touch screen. It is designed to be installed on an adjustable arm for use in shared spaces or smaller patient rooms and will support LG's new, modular LG AM-AC21EA video camera, and HD video communication.
Both include support for video conferencing, and are UL Certified for use in healthcare facilities, a global safety standard. They also feature LG’s integrated Pro:Centric hospital management solutions, allowing hospitals and LG’s patient engagement development partners to personalise a patient's room, providing entertainment, hospital information, services, patient education, and more.
Additionally its communication platform makes it possible to conduct video calls between patients and clinicians or family.
“Our newest LG hospital TVs reflect ongoing feedback from the industry and include capabilities integrated to meet the unique needs of a critical market” said Tom Mottlau, Director of Healthcare Solutions, LG Electronics USA.
“Our healthcare patient engagement development partners requested an upgradable version of webOS for our Pro:Centric smart TV platform so they could more easily introduce new features for their hospital customers. For the latest versions of webOS, LG worked closely with our partners to make their request a reality and to deliver a hospital TV platform that can evolve over time.”