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Creating fair credit card billing policies

By Shannon Geis
February 2, 2017
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If your practice isn’t already accepting credit card payments or e-billing, it may be time to reconsider, says Susan Childs, FACMPE, MGMA member, president, Evolution Healthcare Consulting, Rougemont, N.C.

“Just make sure your policies are fair to the patient,” she says. As higher deductibles become more common, patients are becoming more accountable for their costs, Childs explains – making it important for you to create opportunities to communicate with patients and explain expectations.

Childs recommends making sure everyone on staff understands your policies and can work together to provide customer service as a key to improving your billing through credit card payments and e-billing. “Train everybody,” she says. There are three statements she believes every staff member should be able to affirm:

  • We are approachable.
  • We can confirm your eligibility and benefits in our system.
  • We can confirm what you have to pay today.

All staff members have to understand why policies exist as they are so that they can accurately discuss them with patients, says Childs.

Childs also emphasizes transparency by making your policies as visible to patients as possible. “Provide written material, put it on your website and post it in your practice,” she says. The only place she doesn’t recommend putting payment policies is in the exam rooms. 

Predictability is another important factor, says Childs. “Most people, if you get them on a credit card payment that’s reasonable and regular, have no trouble paying,” she explains. 

Implementing good credit card policies and e-billing can lead to better reimbursement, says Childs. “Just be sure to communicate with patients and be transparent.”

To learn more, consider attending Childs’ session at the MGMA 2017 Financial Management and Payer Contracting Conference in Las Vegas, “Credit Card Policies and E-Billing Options That Succeed.”

Shannon Geis, Staff writer/editor, MGMA

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