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Once you start using electronic statements (eStatements) you’ll wonder why you ever billed any other way.
SAVE TIME AND BOOST YOUR BOTTOM LINE
Patient portals and electronic patient communications, including electronic statements, are key to getting your money faster. High-deductible health plans have made electronic statements increasingly important. The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) conducted a study to determine how patients felt about electronic statements. The results were interesting and definitely worth considering.
According to the HFMA study, an estimated 36% of people who currently receive patient statements in paper form would convert to electronic statements if the option were available.
THE PATIENT ADVANTAGE
Security of delivery, multiple payment methods, and the ability to pay directly from an electronic bill were the most appealing aspects of electronic statements.
Sixty-five percent of those who currently receive paper statements said they would pay an electronic statement faster than a paper statement. Below are just a few comments received:
- “It’s easier and more convenient to pay. No hassle with checks or stamps and no going to the post office.”
- “I’m on my computer a lot. So, it’d be easy to just log on to my email account and see it right there and then pay it.”
- “I would pay it as soon as I read the email unlike paper bills that I tend to wait a while before mailing it back.”
THE PROVIDER ADVANTAGE
Reduced days in accounts receivable and collecting patient payments faster top the list of reasons why it is advantageous for providers to offer electronic statements. Additional cost savings come from a reduction in material costs, a decrease in postage fees, and the fact that the patients receive electronic statements in less time than paper statements, because there is no time lost in the mail. In a nutshell, it is simple – electronic statements result in faster payments and serve as another way to connect patients to the practice.
THE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
The Pew Research Center claims one-in-four people surveyed said they would consider switching doctors for the option of having their statements delivered electronically. Could this ignite a change in behavior? It is something worth exploring.
With the approval of some of our clients, Onpoint Medical Solutions implemented electronic statements at their practice. So, we know it works! As soon as we sent the electronic statements patients started paying. It happened within minutes! Some called to get more information but once the call was fielded it resulted in a payment.
Start electronic statements today and set your practice apart, reduce the cost of postage and get your payments faster.
If you want your billing and collections to be as smooth and effective as possible, it must be a team effort. It can’t be up to just a couple of people and it definitely can’t be a blame game.
Practices are overwhelmed with phone calls, paperwork, pre-authorizations, and patient care. Sometimes the ‘paper’ things can fall through the cracks. It is these things that end up snowballing and result in more work, frantic calls and denied claims.
Here are some tips that will help smooth out the process. They may seem insignificant or deemed to be more trouble than they are worth. But, in the long run, if everyone on the team does their part, it means less clean-up work, less stress, and faster payments.
The collection process starts BEFORE the patient shows up for their appointment.
- If the patient is new to the practice send a welcome packet with all of the paperwork that they need to complete. Sending it before the appointment helps to ensure they will have all of the correct information.
- If they are established patients then remind them to bring their current insurance card.
- On the day of the visit, ask to see a copy of the patient’s insurance card. Too many times this step is either omitted or the staff will just ask if anything has changed. Most patients will automatically say no simply because they don’t remember. Insurance plans change more frequently these days, so it is best to verify and update all information at every visit.
- Make sure that the name on the insurance card matches exactly to what is entered in your practice management system. Mis-spellings, missing middle initials, and typographical errors will all result in denied claims.
- Collect all outstanding patient balances before the patient goes into the exam room.
- Make it as easy as possible for patients to pay their deductibles, copay or self-pay payments. Allow payments via credit cards, patient portals, mobile devices, and paper checks.
- Train select employees to set up payment plans for those patients that can’t pay their portion of the bill in full. Make sure your back office or billing company knows of these payment plans so they can track compliance.
- The billing staff or company can’t bill and collect if charges aren’t submitted. Make sure that charges are submitted daily. There should be a check and balance to ensure that a charge was submitted for every patient that had an appointment that day.
- Make sure that coding is accurate. Do you have the correct modifier? Are the number of units correct?
- Make sure the pre-authorization/referral matches the service and the date of service exactly. Make sure the information is noted on the claim.
When everyone on the team takes their part of the billing and collection process seriously things will go much smoother. The practice will see an increase in revenue and the staff won’t struggle with clean-up work. That is a win for everyone.
Hackers are constantly throwing in new and clever phishing attacks that threaten email users’ security. KnowBe4, one of the top security attentiveness and simulated phishing platform contributors recently issued the top 10 phishing email subject lines from this year’s second quarter. Please note, the attacks used most often contain email subject lines that relate to a user’s passwords and security warnings.
An estimated 1 out of 3 people will open a phishing email each day. This tricky way of gathering people’s personal and financial information is getting bigger, despite all the warnings from technology experts.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a technique that hackers practice to steal personal information, like credit card info or login authorizations. The hacker replicates an existing login page from an online service such as Dropbox, Apple, Gmail or your financial institution. This made-up website holds a code that delivers all the personal data you submit directly to the hacker. To lure you to the bogus website, hackers send a believable email to you. Quite often, the email sent to you will ask you to log in to your bank account because your bank has exposed a transaction that you did not authorize.
Hackers can make these emails look and sound real and their exploits have been very successful. They often use fear. The email will make it sound like you need to take action NOW! So without really checking, the victim clicks the bad link and continues to the bogus landing page where they give the cyber thief their log-in and password information.
Why is Phishing a Concern?
It is reported that consumers, businesses, and organizations will lose an estimated $9 billion in 2018 globally. With so much personal information tied to finances now shared online, hackers use phishing in order to illegally steal your money.
The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) latest quarterly release reported:
- Over 11,000 phishing domains were created in the last quarter alone.
- The number of phishing sites rose 46% over the previous quarter.
- The practice of using SSL certificates on phishing sites continues to rise to lure users into believing a site is legitimate.
Is Phishing Just a Risk for Personal Users?
Because they store a lot of files in the cloud, Phishing is also a risk for all kinds of companies: Digital design companies, financial institutions, security companies, etc. According to hackmageddon.com, there were 868 reported company security breaches or cyber-attacks in 2017.
What do Hackers need to be successful?
There are generally three things hackers do to gain access to your information:
- Build an email account to send emails
- Buy a domain and set up a fake website
- Think of a tech company that is used often to mask itself as a legit website (Dropbox, Amazon, eBay, etc.)
What Can I Do to Avoid Phishing?
It has become increasingly difficult to guard yourself against phishing. As hard as Apple, Google, and other tech companies have worked to filter them out, hackers are always devising new ways to phish. However, here are some tips on spotting phishing emails:
- Try to avoid clicking on buttons and/or links in emails.
- Begin using password managers. A password manager aids the user in creating and retrieving complex passwords and storing the passwords in an encrypted database. Therefore, if hackers get one of your passwords, they can’t use it on any of your other accounts.
- Don’t put total faith in the green lock icon in your address bar. This only ensures that it is a private channel but does not inform you about who you’re communicating with.
- Allow 2FA (two-factor authentication). Two-factor verification is an extra layer of safekeeping otherwise known as “multi-factor authentication.” 2FA requires a password and username, and also something that only the user knows (mother’s maiden name) or has (passcode texted to another device, such as a cell phone).
- Be extra cautious if the browser plugin of your password manager doesn’t show your login credentials automatically.
- Be quick to report suspicious emails to your friends and colleagues. Organizations who make it easy for their employees to report attacks will see a significant decrease in cyber-attacks. The quicker an IT department can respond to a threat, it will minimize the threat potential damage inflicted on people.
Ironically, the trend for most of these phishing emails are warnings about security alerts.
Here are the top 10 from Q2:
- Password Check Required Immediately (15 percent).
- Security Alert (12 percent).
- Change of Password Required Immediately (11 percent).
- A Delivery Attempt was made (10 percent).
- Urgent press release to all employees (10 percent).
- De-activation of  in Process (10 percent).
- Revised Vacation & Sick Time Policy (9 percent).
- UPS Label Delivery, 1ZBE312TNY00015011 (9 percent).
- Staff Review 2017 (7 percent).
- Company Policies-Updates to our Fraternization Policy (7 percent).
By: Julie Kastner, Phoenix Technology
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What physician wants to give any money back to an insurance carrier? Few consumers realize that unlike other business owners, physicians don’t get to set their own prices for services rendered. Rather, they are on a “take it or leave it” reimbursement system. So, frustration runs high when a provider is informed that there has been an overpayment on an already heavily discounted service. These overpayments, result in credit balances.
There seems to be an uptick in the number of practices that are contacted by the State Department of Revenue and told that they are the target of a credit balance audit. This article, Juggling the Credit Balance Dilemma, is a good overview of why this is happening and the penalties you face if you don’t resolve credit balances. We hope you take a minute to read the article and then make sure your practice is in compliance.