Government restrictions may be lifting, but medical practices are not going to bounce back immediately. Any financial goals you had in place for 2020 likely won’t be met this year.
Some budgetary adjustments will be necessary. Here are just a few ideas:
This goes without saying, but make sure you’re up to date on patient billing and payments, too, including telemedicine visits. If you have patients who need extra time to pay their bills, set up a payment plan for them using BillFlash Plan Pay.
Before you start bringing patients back in, your entire medical staff needs to understand your new policies and be on board with enforcing them. They need to be reassured that their safety is a top priority, as well.
It’s been a difficult few months for front-line healthcare workers, and will continue to be stressful in the months going forward. Do what you can to acknowledge their hard work and dedication.
Some people are eager to get out of their homes and into public spaces again, while others plan to shelter in place a while longer. Either way, your patients aren’t going to return in droves. Many are less comfortable going back to a doctor’s office than they are other places, so you need to be proactive about making your patients feel safe enough to come back to your office.
Americans have become experts on how viruses spread over the past few months, so anything you’re doing to clean and sanitize your office should be visible. Affixing physical distancing floor markers, procuring enough PPE for your staff, and installing hand sanitizer stations is a good start. Show your patients what you’re doing to protect them; simply telling them what you’re doing when they aren’t around won’t be enough.
As you communicate your new policies to patients, be aware that they may be feeling overwhelmed. Be transparent about your new policies, but connect with them on a personal level, too. Don’t be afraid to show your human side; otherwise, your office will be just another place with a long list of rules to follow.
The technology that got you through stay-at-home orders can continue to support you long term. Telehealth isn’t going away. Plus, patients will still want contactless payment options.
Evaluate what has worked over the last few months and incorporate them as part of your new normal.
For example, you may want to have a plan in place regarding which patients get priority with telehealth. At-risk individuals will still need to stay home as much as possible, so make sure telehealth will still be an option for them.
Another tool that’s been valuable during the pandemic is contactless payments. COVID-19 has changed the way people are paying—for good. They want the option to pay their bills online, or directly from their mobile devices. Some patients will even consider switching providers if another practice offers them online payment options their current provider doesn’t have.
BillFlash easily accommodates a variety of payment preferences, from online SelfPays to sending pre-visit charges for telemedicine visits (Dr. First).
Local outbreaks may still happen. Many households have lost income. Patients have different preferences and needs regarding where an encounter happens and how they pay.
Things are still changing by the week. As much as we all want a new, consistent normal, we need to be prepared to continue to make adjustments as needed. Ultimately, it is your patients and your practice’s financial health that will benefit from your ability to adjust with the times.
BillFlash offers a variety of services that have served customers well through the pandemic. For more information or to see a demo, contact us at