Financial management is key in running an optometry practice successfully. Talk about payment options with patients in an effective manner to increase the likelihood of payment, and improve client-provider relationship.
If you feel too shy to discuss payment, tell yourself that you are running a business and deserve to be paid. Here are 3 basic guidelines to keep your patients well-informed about their financial responsibility.
1. Be Transparent
Rule number 1 is to be open about the financial responsibilities of your patients from the beginning. Let them know about the procedures, costs, and payment options in advance.
Even if the cost of a particular treatment at your optometry practice is relatively high, do not hesitate to start discussing it with your patients. In fact, patients prefer you being open with them.
Talk to them about aspects that are covered and not covered by their insurance plans, so that they can allocate a budget accordingly. Also make sure you inform them about all payment options and the time when payment is due.
2. Educate Your Staff
You can educate your staff regarding basic billing, so that they are able to talk about payment options with patients. Your employees should be able to effectively inform them about treatment costs at your optometry practice.
Make sure your clinical staff is aware of examination and treatment costs that may not be covered by insurance, so that they can alert patients accordingly. You can also provide scripts to your employees to help them talk about costs with patients in the right way.
Before the patient meets you, your staff members can give them a briefing about the procedures and their costs. If a certain procedure is not coverable by insurance, a staff member can guide them with signing a statement of financial responsibility. Train your employees to not hesitate and ask for payment in a firm yet diplomatic manner.
However, in certain scenarios, it is difficult for a staff member to brief the patients. For instance, while you are examining a patient, you may feel that a certain procedure needs to be performed. In that case, you can call someone from the billing staff to come back and explain the extra fee to the patient. Alternatively, you can opt for providing a more personalized experience by informing the patient yourself.
3. Choose the Right Medium
Make sure you communicate the costs of your services or treatments in a simple and convenient manner. Phone calls and emails are conventional and reliable options, but with an expansion in digital communication, several more ways are now available.
According to a survey conducted by Truecaller, 64% of the adults admitted that they do not answer phone calls from an unknown number. Sending text messages is a quick way to let patients know the costs and payment options. Patients can easily read messages and follow a link to make the payment through their mobile phones, tablets, smartwatches, or other devices.
Making payment easy and quick for patients will improve your cashflow and increase response rates. Keep payment options flexible for patients, as some may still prefer a paper bill.
You can also use online options to inform patients about finances. It is a good idea to have a web page within your website or a tab on your Facebook page devoted to financial responsibility, payment plans, and insurance.
Discussing finances may initially make you feel uncomfortable. However, with the right strategies, you can conveniently and politely talk about payment options with patients. Make sure your staff also understands the importance of keeping patients updated.