A study of nearly 35,000 online reviews of medical billing office’s nationwide has found that customer service is patients’ chief frustration, not physicians’ medical expertise and clinical skill.The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Medical Practice Management, reveals that 96 percent of patient complaints are related to customer service, while only 4 percent are about the quality of clinical care or misdiagnoses.
According to the study, among the unhappiest patients, 53 percent cite communications frustrations.
In an FQHC billing environment, patient satisfaction is a top priority. From Board Members to Front Office staff a constant effort has been placed through extensive policy and procedure to be sure the patient is satisfied in every way.
So where is the breakdown and why are your patients still not happy? It is your self-pay policies.
You may be thinking, “What self-pay policies?” That is exactly my point. The majority of FQHC patient billing practices consist of sending notices. The incoming calls come in to either voice mail or anyone available to answer the call, even the CFO. In every other department of your medical practice you hired trained professionals to do specific tasks. Self-pay should be handled by a professional who’s main focus is customer service.
Many financial people within medical facilities from anesthesiology offices to hospitals focus more on recovery than resolution. If you focus more on resolving the accounts, you will not only recover more but you will also save a ton in expenses. The cost of working self-pay lies in the account constantly revolving within your billing cycle. To be effective you must place take a proactive approach when communicating with a patient.
On an average 30% of your self-pay accounts have a bad address or a bad phone number. This means 30% of your patients are never receiving a statement, yet you continue to send one every month.
When a patient calls they obviously have something important to discuss. Voice mail leaves the patient frustrated and the next call is often confrontational.
Patient portions of the bill should be left to the professionals. Many will say they will never let an EBO company call their patients. Let me ask you this? Is it better customer service to send dead-end statements and not answer phone calls then it is to be sure a statement is delivered and follow up with a call to ask if the patient has any questions? By being proactive you can remove the objections and frustrations and then there will only be one question left to answer. Will you pay the bill or not?
Can you imagine coming into your office tomorrow and never dealing with a self-pay account again?
These services are often offered on a low contingency fee model with no upfront costs. You have nothing to lose by seeing if this is right for your billing office.
Contact us today.
by: Tom Jensen