It has never been more important to the financial health of your practice to have an efficient patient pre-collections program in place. The goal is to get patients to pay in full prior to the procedure.

The motto for getting paid is to Ask Early and Ask Often for Payment.

The fact is, the further into the collections process you go, the less likely a patient is to pay in full. If your practice’s patient collection efforts only go as far as issuing statements and generating “bad debt” reports of accounts that are turned over to collections, it’s likely that less than 50% of those collection balances will be recovered.

If this describes your practice, an improved strategy for Patient “Pre-Collections” that is both aggressive and fair should be implemented. Revenue for services rendered is the lifeblood of any facility, and if patients need to foot 40% of the bill, you can’t afford to miss out.

  • Discuss payment expectations when you discuss procedure and appointment setting. If unable to pay in full, collecting a nominal portion the day before or the day of may make it worth proceeding.
  • Collect a portion of co-pays upfront from patients. This isn’t always possible in the case of many emergency room admissions, but it is for specialty services such as elective surgeries and ancillary procedures.

Point of Service Collections

Point of service collections is just as important as insurance collections. Missed co-pays can quickly add up to a significant revenue loss. In the long run, point of service collections helps to cut down on statement costs and patient AR.

In order to

Patient billing is a significant problem for patients and providers.

ensure patients understand their coverage and are aware of their responsibilities — and that you get paid. Develop a self-pay policy, communicate it clearly to both staff and patients, and self-pay collection will become an integral part of your practice workflow.

People are not aware of their deductibles for specific procedures but when the time comes, it’s often the front office staff that has to educate patients about their insurance and the agreed-upon patient responsibility. Oftentimes, patients who hold high deductible health plans and other aggressive patient cost-sharing models are unpleasantly surprised with they find our they are ultimately responsible for their surgery. Patients who need to pay out of pocket for some or all of their medical care are frustrated by difficulties understanding what’s covered and what they owe, the lack of options for payment plans, and the poor timing of bills and communication around the process.

Front office staff are intimidated to collect payments or have not perfected Point-of-service collections, the art of asking for payment.

collecting some or all of the co-pay upon admission or before services are rendered

For Example:

Don’t Ask: CAN you can pay today?

Ask: How WILL you pay today?

Make it easy for patients to pay. 9 times out of 10, patients say they want to be able to pay their medical bills online. Facilities and healthcare providers can help ease the burden for patients by setting up customized payment plans, using patients’ preferred payment methods — which helps ensure that bills will be paid.

FAQ Billing/Pre-Collections
What is their bill for?
Deductible, Copay, Co-insurance

Has insurance been processed?
It is always processed prior to billing the patient as long as insurance was provided at the time of service.

Can they set up payment arrangements?
Of course! Our Pre-collections Team will be happy to assist you in setting up a payment arrangement for any balance. 

Where/how can my patients pay their bill?
Online at, via telephone at 205.329.7519, at your physician’s office, or by mail.

Should we get a lockbox for our insurance payments, and give you all access?
Yes, this makes the process of payment posting and claims follow up a lot quicker and easier. It cuts out the chance of things getting lost in the transition from your office to ours and also allows us to quickly identify any issues with payers not paying to the right location.

Are x-rays covered within the post-op treatment for my patients?
No. Co-pays for office visits are included within your post-op treatment but any additional x-rays and injections will not.

We don’t just set up a payment framework and then walk away; we are committed to giving providers the analytics, technology infrastructure, clinical support, and other resources that increase their likelihood of success. We also try to understand and address their challenges; for example, knowing that cash flow is a big issue, we’ve worked to make billing cycles shorter and more predictable.