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How to Improve Patient Collections with One Simple Program

Your passion is helping kids, and you can’t help anyone if you go out of business. Trouble with collections can cause serious cash flow issues down the line. Does your pediatric therapy clinic have this problem?

According to Pam Jodock, “About 35% of provider revenue now comes from patient pay, so it becomes more and more critical to improve collections.” But a recent report shows that 73% of healthcare providers take at least a month to collect payments from their patients.

One way to improve collections is to implement a credit card on file program to make the payment collection process more efficient.

Legal Requirements for Storing Credit Card Information

Before implementing a credit card on file (CCOF) program, it’s important to consider the legal ramifications. Keeping a credit card on file requires additional security measures (fortunately, some payment processors handle most of the security for you).

Keep the following in mind:

  1. PCI-CSS Certification. Make sure your payment gateway is PCI-DSS certified. This ensures anything transmitted is encrypted and secure.
  2. HIPAA Compliance. Do not write down complete card information anywhere, and do not photocopy any credit cards.
  3. Internal Security. Ensure that each payment gateway has an individual login and password, and change passwords on a regular basis.

Ethical Considerations for Storing Credit Card Information

It’s important to have the caregiver sign a credit card on file agreement after reviewing the financial policy so that they are not surprised by charges. Develop a payment policy that makes it clear when the credit card will be charged.

Your payment policy should also inform the patient how to get a copy of any or all the charges.

It all comes down to providing transparency and clarity on how the patient is being billed – informing them of what you’ll do with their payment information, ensuring its confidentiality, when to expect charges, and how to access information related to these charges.

The Benefits of Storing Credit Card Information

20% of healthcare providers agreed that a credit card on file decreased patient days in accounts receivable, and 29% see the patient collection strategy as a powerful and effective system to reduce write-offs and bad debt.

Nearly 90% of individuals on the private and public healthcare exchange program selected a high-deductible health plan because of their low premiums. As a result, out-of-pocket costs have significantly increased.

To tackle this problem, Amy Rogers, CMPE, office manager of a speciality practice in Illinois, kickstarted the implementation of a CCOF program.

“We are not owned by a hospital system, so getting our money in as quickly as possible is very important to us,” Rogers said.

Instead of earning a fraction of the total owed, the CCOF program allowed her staff to generate medical bill payment plans that fulfilled patients’ requirements and kept the practice’s revenue cycle in check.

Thanks to the CCOF initiative, “receivables in the 91- to 120-day category declined 73% year-over-year.”

How to Implement a CCOF Program

The easiest way to begin storing credit card information and implementing a credit card of file program is to find an EMR with integrated billing and credit card processing.

This will allow you to take payments at checkout, charge credit cards on file, and easily keep track of all transactions within one piece of clinic management software.

(For a checklist of other features to look for, grab our free EMR Buyer’s Guide for Pediatric Therapists.)

Focus on Your Patients

In short, a credit card on file system can ensure that caregivers make their payments in a timely manner. This will make the payment process more efficient, so you can eliminate bottleneck. And that means you’ll be able to focus on helping your kiddos instead of getting paid.

Launch a CCOF Program

If you’re ready to launch a Credit Card on File program at your clinic, here’s a sample Credit Card on File Authorization Form to help you get started.