The telephone is a powerful tool in the hands of collectors of past-due patient bills - if they know what they are doing. On large amounts where the patient is likely to ask for a "deal," follow this four-step plan before you pick up the phone:
- Gather relevant facts about the outstanding bill, such as how much, how long past due, and number of previous collection attempts.
- Review the patient's payment history to be prepared for possible objections (e.g., "But I just sent you a payment last month!").
- Decide whether you will accept a discounted settlement or installment payments, and if so, what is the smallest acceptable amount. This avoids unplanned pauses or hesitations that invite the other person to take control of the call.
- Schedule calls for when the patient or person responsible for the patient's bill is available, which is usually between 4 pm and 8 pm on weekdays.
- Follow the Billing Disclosure Requirements for uninsured and indigent patients.
Source: I.C. System , a TMA-endorsed debt collection service. Contact I.C. System at (800) 279-3511 for more advice on improving internal collection systems and help with problem accounts.
Content reviewed: 3/15/2007
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