In cooperation with the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) released a list of best practices for collecting and resolving outstanding medical debts.
Some of the recommendations include:
- Communicate and educate patients in a timely manner regarding their payment options and responsibilities, as well as the availability of financial assistance programs
- Create patient-friendly invoices and statements that are accurate and easy to understand
- Make a toll-free number available that patients can call for billing information
- Develop account resolution policies and the processes for following them
- Train everyone who engages in financial discussions with patients, including all in-house and third-party agency personnel
- Report current statuses of accounts to credit bureaus – if a past-due account has been paid, the credit report entry must indicate the account is satisfied
- Create a system for tracking consumer complaints and share this information among all parties – being proactive will help resolve accounts, improve service and minimize ongoing grievances
- Evaluate the collection program on an annual basis and modify as required – review the technology in place, current processes, existing collection partnerships and the program’s overall effectiveness
These guidelines represent just a few of HFMA’s established best practices. By following proven principles, healthcare providers and collection agencies can create a blueprint for resolving patient accounts in the most effective and fair manner possible.