Physical Therapy Billing: Collecting Payment from Patients

By Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT on January 6, 2013

Physical therapy billing involves insurance claim submission and balance billing patients for outstanding dues.

Since patients are the most difficult payers, it’s critical for a practice to gather payment information during the patient intake process, and also to communicate with them about their insurance and balance billing possibilities.

This makes the patient aware of his / her responsibilities and helps the practice increase cash flow.

physical therapy billing of patientsIn an ideal world, every visit that patients made to the physical therapists would be seamless and payments would happen virtually, in the background.

Each time your physical therapy billing staff submits a claim, the hope is that it will be accepted.

Sadly, half the time, those claims are denied or rejected. And for many patients, this can mean that the onus of payment is on them.

Collecting payment is the hard part. When someone needs medical care, the last thing you want to do is demand they pay up for the services they’re getting. But the physical therapy billing system is set up the way it is and the best we can do is adjust and come up with smart ways to make the process less painful.

Pre-Visit Intake and Insurance Reviews

One way that some physical therapy billing departments are doing to make things easier is to work with patients up-front and determine what is covered before the patient has any bills due.

This process is not fool-proof, and it requires a lot of proactive work and planning on the part of the physical therapy billing department. But if a patient knows what to expect, payment is not as stressful and onerous.

With an integrated physical therapy billing EMR, as soon as the patient has entered their insurance and medical information, the staff can get to work finding out what the patient can expect to receive in terms of care.

Any co-payments or deductibles can be discussed up front. This means that the patient will be informed about their obligations and will not balk every time a payment is due.

Be Ready

Naturally, no system is flawless and there will still be situations where a patients insurance company rejects claims based on previous care that was not mentioned or other provisions that were not identified.

physical therapy billing collectionBut by taking the steps to avoid surprises, both the staff of physical therapy billing and the patients will find it easier to handle the payment process.

Payments from patients are more likely to be paid on time, and you can even collect payment up-front when the patient arrives rather than sending them a surprise bill in the mail at a later date.

Integrated EMR Solutions for Payment Processes

The only way that physical therapy billing staff can streamline the process in this way is if they have access to all the most relevant information. As soon as a patient has made a payment at reception, the billing staff should be able to pull up that information.

If a new appointment is made, information about who will pay should be calculated automatically.

On-site credit card processing should also be an option, for both one-time and recurring payments. Payments can be initiated from within an integrated physical therapy billing EMR.

Rather than put everyone through the stress of uncertainty and unexpected bills, a physical therapy EMR that makes physical therapy billing straightforward and simple can lift the burden from staff as well as patients.

About Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT

Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT is the CEO of In Touch EMR and In Touch Biller Pro, an electronic medical records and medical billing software system built be leaders in the physical therapy software industry, with thousands of satisfied customers across the world. For more information, please visit www.InTouchEmr.com and www.InTouchBillerPro.com

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