Common Reasons Your Mental Health Practice Is Struggling to Collect Patient Payments

Many health practices struggle to collect payments from patients. Nearly half (46%) of insured adults report difficulty affording out-of-pocket costs, and one in four (27%) report difficulty affording their deductible, according to a recent poll by Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). This has also impacted mental health care, with a third of Americans canceling therapy sessions because of out-of-pocket costs and 39% reporting they have reduced frequency of therapy sessions to save money.

Making mental health care accessible to all is critical. This article explores some of the top obstacles mental health practices face when trying to collect patient payments and how modern patient payment technology can help overcome them while simultaneously improving the patient experience.

Payment Process Errors

The manual process of tracking payments can be grueling and following up multiple times opens a larger margin of error. These internal errors – whether having the wrong contact or payment information on file – can have a significant impact on mental health facilities’ ability to capture the full patient payment in a timely fashion.

However, technology can help. Leveraging a modern payment solution can help your mental health practice eliminate unnecessary errors and collect payments more efficiently. Modern technology allows patients to enter payment and contact information directly versus having staff manually enter it later. This can reduce entry errors and ensure your practice’s data is accurate. It also saves employees valuable time so they can focus on other pressing issues.

Higher Deductibles

High deductible plans pose another challenge for patients to pay their bills in full. These plans require individuals to pay a larger percentage of their healthcare cost out-of-pocket until the deductible is met before insurance jumps in. An estimated 23.6 million Americans with employer coverage spend a large share of their income on premiums or out-of-pocket costs. The result: A number of Americans are canceling their therapy sessions due to the climbing expenses.

While the end cost won’t change, improving the payment process can help put patients more in control of their health. Providing them with a simplified payment process with cost transparency at time of service, visibility into what they owe and an easy process to submit payments can help improve the patient experience.

Telemedicine

COVID-19 had a monumental impact on doctor’s visits, and digital medicine continues to play a role in the healthcare industry. While the population has steadily been returning to in-person visits, there is still a desire to have the option for telehealth, especially in mental health with 49% of patients surveyed reporting they would be willing to use telehealth for talk therapy.

Embracing telemedicine is important for practices, but it also reduces the in-person interaction for time-of-service payments. Therefore, embracing the digital evolution of payment systems is important. Providing a safe and easy way for patients to submit payments in full, as well as consistent and clear communication about the amount owed delivered in a manner that fits the patients preferences can help improve your practices collections.

Patient payment collection systems like Kareo Patient Collect build a good foundation for patient/practice relationships and can help establish your mental health practice as both dependable and modern. Interested in learning more? Sign up for the Kareo newsletter to receive a copy of our e-book: "How to Successfully Gain Team Buy-In for a New Patient Payment Solution" to learn how to get started today!

About the Author

Kevin Clinton is the Director of Marketing, Payment Solutions and joined Kareo in 2019. He has more than 20 years of experience in Strategic Marketing and is dedicated...

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