It may come as a surprise to the beginning medical billing service but many providers do not pay their own bills on time. This can be a huge problem. The new medical billing service generally waits several months before they are even able to find, start working for, and bill a new client. You have invested time and money into getting this account started. You anxiously await the first payment to see your efforts come to fruition. Each day you go to the mailbox watching for that illusive check. What should you do when it doesn’t come?
Some doctors are great about paying. Some send the check as soon as they receive their bill. They appreciate the work you do and show it by paying you on time. You will quickly learn that the ones who are not willing to pay on time do not appreciate your work and will give you all sorts of excuses for not paying on time.
As you grow, the problem can grow too. You need to set up policies early to know what to do or you will spend a lot of time worrying about getting paid and how you are going to collect it. We send our bills to our doctors on the first of the month and payment is due by the tenth. We send friendly reminder notices on the twentieth of the month. If the bill is not paid by the first of the next month, we add a finance charge to the next bill.
If a client goes two months without paying, they definitely need a phone call. You need to try to keep your emotions out of the call even if you can’t pay the rent until you get paid. You need to ask if there is a problem with your bill and when can you expect payment. We ask our clients who are slow payers if they are willing to let us put their payments on a credit card. We have many providers who are thrilled to pay this way. They get points on their credit cards and don’t have to remember to write a check. Although it costs us a little, we can depend on getting paid on time.
We also have a policy that if a client goes three months without paying they get a letter from us stating that we have to cancel our contract if we do not receive payment within ten days. It’s a good idea to not let things go this far, but unfortunately it happens. At any rate make sure you decide how you are going to handle this type of problem and put a system in place.