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Increase In-House Nursing Homes Collections
The following nursing home collections report outlines 11 guidelines you can follow to increase the amount of in-home long-term care collections your facility collects.
1]Have a Defined Long Term Care Collection Policy
One of the most important causes of delinquent nursing home receivables is that the facility has not clearly defined to its residents/responsible parties and business office staff when the accounts are due. If you are currently “playing it by ear” and don’t have consistent guidelines for your business office to follow – you are inviting bad debt. These guidelines should be explained to both your business office and your staff. If you consistently apply your collection policy to every nursing home account, you will enjoy a significant reduction in delinquent accounts.
2]Educate Residents/Responsible Parties About Your Policy Before Admission
If residents/responsible parties are not educated that their nursing home bills must be paid on time – then chances are they will pay late or sometimes not at all. Make it very clear what day of the month you are billing, and when they are expected to be paid. Let them know the consequences of not paying up front – not after they become delinquents. This eliminates potential future misunderstandings from your residents/responsible parties. A statement of your payment policy when payment is delayed is a strong first step in making payment easier.
3]Bill Promptly and Bill Regularly
If you don’t have a billing and invoicing system – get one. Many times the resident/responsible party was not re-billed or reminded to pay on time. This situation regularly occurs in households where there is not enough billing staff in your business office, or the staff is spread out to bill or bill on time. It is amazing how much money is often left uncollected because the resident/responsible party was never billed or contacted a second time.
4]Keep Accurate And Timely Payment Records
Once a resident is accepted, it is critically important to maintain accurate and timely records of their payment history. If you see any deviation from past payment patterns, and especially if payments become unusually slow, immediate follow-up is warranted. This not only gives you early warning of impending payment problems, it also gives you the opportunity for early intervention if there is an outside influence (ie responsible party withholding payment, etc…)
5]Contact Past Accounts More Often
There is no law prohibiting you from contacting a resident/responsible party for more than one month. The old adage ‘The squeaky wheel gets the oil’ has great merit when it comes to collecting delinquent accounts. It is a great idea to contact late payers every 14 days. Doing so will enable you to diplomatically remind the resident/liable party of your payment terms and give you more opportunities to discover the real reason why they are late.
6]Develop a Systematic Plan to Follow Up on Past Accounts
Determine ahead of time what actions you will take and a specific time when the actions will take place. For example, at 15 days delinquent – make a phone call. Your business office can start with a ‘courtesy’ call to make sure the statement has been received. At 30 days delinquent – send another statement with a message, “This balance is 30 days delinquent, please send immediately.” After 45 days your business office can call and make a stronger demand for payment. Having a plan and sticking to it makes you and your residents/responsible parties aware of the fact that you expect to be paid on time.
7]Use Your Aging Report – Not Your “Feelings”
Many well-intentioned business offices let a nursing home account age past the point of ever being collected because they ‘felt’ the resident/responsible party would eventually pay. While there are certainly some isolated cases of unusual payment situations, the truth is that if you’re not getting paid, usually someone else is. So stick to your systematic follow-up plan. You will soon know who really intends to pay and who does not. You can then take appropriate action when you know where you stand.
8]Make Sure Your Business Office Is Trained
Even experienced business office members can sometimes become jaded when dealing with debtors. This usually happens when the residents or responsible parties: have made and broken promises to pay, failed to file information with the county office, avoided your attempts to contact, moved without a mailing address or simply stated that they do not intend to. paying Make sure your business office is firm but polite when dealing with the residents/responsible parties. Your business office could benefit from customer service training as they have to ‘sell’ the residents/responsible parties on the idea that you expect to be paid. Make sure your business office is trained to not only bring the nursing home account current, but also maintain good will with your residents/responsible parties.
9]Accept And Correct Your Own Mistakes
Sometimes residents/responsible parties don’t pay because they feel you made a mistake. If the basis of the non-payment is a dispute over the quality of care, an agreement between you and the resident/responsible party must be reached immediately. The resident/responsible party can use a minor dispute to withhold a large payment. Insist that the undisputed portion be paid immediately, indicating that the balance will be negotiated. This will not only help collect payment, it shows the resident/responsible party that you are listening to their concerns.
10]Use Third Party Nurse Collections Intervention Earlier
If you have systematically addressed your delinquent nursing home accounts for 60 to 90 days from the due date, and they still have not paid, you receive a message from your resident/responsible party. If you have implemented a good collection policy, you will have requested payment four to six times in the form of statements, letters, phone calls and perhaps personal visits. Statistics show that after 90 days, the effectiveness of in-house collection efforts wears off by 80%”. This means that your business office’s time and resources should be focused on the first 90 days of delinquency, where you have the best opportunity. collect. the delinquent nursing home balances. From that point, a third party can encourage a resident/responsible party to pay in ways you can’t, due to both the perceived and real consequences of dealing with a collection agency or attorney.
11]Remember No One Collects Every Account
Even when setting up and adhering to a specific long-term care collection plan, there are always some accounts that will never be collected. Identifying these nursing home accounts early will save your billing staff a lot of time and money. Although some may pass, you will find that the total number of slow wages and non-paying accounts will be greatly reduced, and that is a victory in itself!
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