Physical Therapy Billing: Patient Credit Card Payments 101

By Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT on January 8, 2013

On-site credit card processing is one of the best ways to collect payments from patients. With a credit card on file and signed permission from the patient, your practice can balance bill a patient without having to turn into a ‘payment collector’.

In this article, Nitin Chhoda reveals key insights to help improve payments from patients and convince them to give you permission for automated, credit card billing.

physical therapy billing 101The most modern and advanced physical therapy EMRs combine everything from patient intake to physical therapy billing in one system.

The benefits seem endless when you look at it from a physical therapy management perspective, but filling in the gaps for the rest of the staff is also very important.

There are many ways that patient interactions can be improved, including in the delicate arena of payment.

Benefits of On-Site Credit Card Processing

Although most physical therapy services are covered by insurance companies or government programs, a significant enough proportion of physical therapy billing payments will come directly from patients.

In fact, a good physical therapy billing and marketing strategy is to encourage patients who will be paying up-front for preventative services.

If you have at least some patients who are paying for their own services, you can predict certain levels of revenue that doesn’t come with the same delays and claims submissions.

These days, it is important to have on-site credit card processing as one payment option for physical therapy billing patients. Even if you are simply collecting credit card information in case of future incidental costs, the value of including integrated credit card payment processing into your EMR will be significant.

For co-payments or initial deductible payments, having recurring credit card processing capabilities will take a lot of time-consuming work out of collecting payment.

And for practices that incorporate up-front payment into their physical therapy billing practice, being able to charge the fees simply and efficiently with a stored credit card can make the entire process smoother and more comfortable for patients as well as staff.

Additionally, physical therapy billing staff should be able to see real-time updates to the payment status of patients, each time the credit card is charged.

Other Payment Precautions and Solutions

physical therapy billing processAccepting credit and debit cards on-site is just one part of the payment routines. Hopefully you are also equipped to accept cash and even checks.

Even though many people do not use checks anymore, there are still a surprising number of patients who will come through your practice hoping to pay by check.

Checks are a difficult form of payment for physical therapy billing to accept. The cost of a bounced check is not insignificant and the time it takes to re-bill is frustratingly slow.

But there are ways to accept checks safely. Now, you can integrate the Automated Clearinghouse (ACH) process into your EMR. You will be able to instantly determine whether or not a check is good.

Accepting checks may help you to increase the amount of up-front payments you can accept, making your practice more efficient at collecting physical therapy billing payments. Anything that improves your cash intake is a good investment.

Decreasing the Work of Physical Therapy Billing Staff

Another great investment is made each time you reduce the amount of work that physical therapy billing staff needs to manage. Up-front payments and on-site credit card processing make it possible for billers to be taken out of the equation for certain patients. This means they can spend more time and energy focusing on billing and collecting from insurance companies.

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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