Being a medical professional is always a tiring job requiring long hours and immense concentration at work, and recent world events have made the strain only worse. The last thing you want to be doing after such a long day at the office is putting in extra time to recoup money from outstanding payments.
But this is where conflicting interests collide: your medical practice depends on such payments to keep it going, but you understand that more people than ever are suffering job loss and dire health problems. Juggling all these concerns can be delicate.
Here are some productive yet compassionate tips to keep payments coming.
Foster Strong Relationships
Ideally, the debt won’t have to be collected if it’s paid in the first place. Maintaining a positive relationship with patients is good practice anyway, and it’ll make everyone feel more comfortable if you need to contact someone over a payment.
To be sure, a patient’s ability to pay may have no bearing on your relationship. But being on good terms with your patients may help smooth over some otherwise difficult conversations, and will only increase the odds of recouping the payment.
Feel for Their Position
Legally, you are owed money for work you’ve already put in. But people are struggling now for no fault of their own, and surely everybody would pay you if money were in abundance.
The experts at Summit A*R medical collection services advise on carrying forward with empathy, rather than aggressive tactics. Not only is it a gentler approach for everyone involved, but it’s also more effective, with results doubling the national average’s success.
While Hollywood movies have sometimes made collecting debts seem innately aggressive, the only expression is true — you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. It’s essential to be understanding, compassionate and sensitive when dealing with anyone experiencing health issues, let alone your patients.
Don’t Assume the Worst
To you, the first thing you know is that you’re owed money you didn’t get. But there may be legitimate explanations for this!
Don’t begin the conversation with an accusatory tone. Assume there is an innocent reason —perhaps an honest mistake or a technical glitch.
You don’t want to embarrass yourself or get your patient feeling defensive. Ultimately, you need them to pay you, and you want their continued business — you’ll undermine both goals if you speak to them angrily.
Know Your Limits
Perhaps you’ve tried following up with genuine empathy, and, still, the patient refuses to pay. There may be different reasons why they can’t make a payment, and they may react to this inability with embarrassment or anger.
If this is the situation, it’s time to call in a medical collection agency.
People everywhere are experiencing challenges in their health and their professional life. Try to be as professional and sympathetic as you can. But ultimately, this is your job, and receiving the agreed-upon compensation is only fair.