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CPAs4MDs Guide to Practice Management and Internal Control
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Eliminating Accounts Receivables
To avoid an account reaching the accounts receivable stage, it is imperative that the front-office receptionist be trained in obtaining payment at the time of service. The staff must be polite but firm and inform patients of your policy. Don't accept promises to pay after the insurance pays. The insurance clerk should have complete fee information on all types of policies that come into the office, including Medicare. This will allow the clerk to compute the balance as soon as the physician is finished with the patient and collect the fee before the patient leaves the office. Be sure to consider deductibles which are a concern early in the year. We recommend that the office establish a "Merchant Account" to accept credit cards for patient payments.
The Patient Interview Form should indicate the following at the bottom:
How do you plan to pay for today's medical visit?
Check ___ Cash ___ Credit Card ___
The receptionist is to verify that the payment mode is checked off on the Patient Interview Form (more information) for each patient. If left blank, the receptionist is to approach the patient and determine the method of payment prior to meeting with the physician.
When scheduling appointments, the appointment secretary should advise patients as to what is expected of them financially. For Managed-care patients the co-pay is to be verified with the patient and consequently collected at the time of the visit.
For services performed outside the office (at hospitals or nursing homes), the physician should note the billable services performed and provide this information to the accounts receivables clerk. Responsibility for obtaining this information from the physician and recording it should be assigned to a specific individual.
During the weekly and monthly meetings, the practice administrator should reinforce the front-office policy of collecting for all services at the time of the office visit and set a goal of a 90% collection rate. The Patient Collection Worksheet-Office Visits ((More information) should be used by the front-office personnel to reach the 90% goal.