Does this sound familiar? A patient comes to your clinic for treatment, you bill his or her insurance, the insurance pays the portion for which it is responsible, and you send an invoice to the patient for the remaining balance. Days, weeks, even months go by, and after persistently hounding the patient for his or her payment, you finally receive it. As it turns out, though, the patient wasn’t intentionally dodging the bill—it just wasn’t super convenient for him or her to pay. And that begs the question: can rehab therapy offices create patient invoices that help them receive payments faster? Perhaps. Here’s how:
Include your contact information.
This may seem obvious, but you should always include your clinic’s contact information on the invoice in an easy-to-spot location. That’s because you want to make it easy-peasy for patients to contact you should they need to set up a payment arrangement or inform you that a payment is delayed. So, prominently display your name, address, and phone number (a.k.a. your “NAP”) at the top of the invoice in large print.
To make it extra easy, you should also display the patient identifier—whether that be an invoice number or another unique identifier—in an obvious place on the page.
According to this resource from Small Business Trends, your invoice should include the following:
- “Your name
- Your tax ID
- Your address (both your physical and email address)
- Your phone number
- Invoice number
- Itemized breakdown of services or products rendered
- Total amount
- Due date”
Add line items.
You know your services are worth every penny, and when your patients achieve optimal outcomes, they undoubtedly do, too. That said, patients still want to know exactly what they’re paying for. So, make sure you:
- include separate line items for individual procedures as well as any applicable supplies (e.g., fitness bands, tape, or foam rollers), and
- list the cost for each.
Not only will this help the patient understand what he or she is paying for, but it’ll also protect you should the patient ever dispute a charge.
Provide convenient payment options.
Thanks to the Internet, people want (and expect) several payment options—all at the touch of a button. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing: after all, if you accept several different payment methods, it can boost your chances of getting paid quickly. (And if your billing platform has an online payment option, that’ll speed up the process even more.) But, don’t forget to tell patients about the various ways they can make payments. As this article from Chargebee suggests, “include a list of all available modes of payment that your business supports at the bottom of the invoice, giving your customers varied options if they are not able to pay via a particular method.”
Give your invoices a personal touch.
While you don’t necessarily need to write each patient a long note whenever you send an invoice, personalizing your invoices shows patients you value them—not just their money. You can accomplish this by:
- Using words like “please” and “thank you” on the invoice,
- Including special messages for birthdays or major life events, and
- Mentioning any special offers or discounts.
Also, when you actually hand the invoice to the patient, make sure you’re giving him or her special attention and offering to go through the line items and provide answers to any questions.
Track the invoices.
Once that invoice leaves your office, you need to keep an eye on it. Make sure that whatever billing software you use has the ability to track patient balances, note when they’ve been sent, and indicate when they’ve been paid.
If you’re having a hard time receiving patient payments, then it might be time to rethink the way you do invoices. However, with a few personal touches, you can decrease the amount of time it takes you to get paid—and that’s more convenient for everyone.