How to Book Secured Appointments That Won’t No-Show
What is the best time for securing payment for treatment?
It’s when you set the appointment.
If you are serious about your patients paying you after treatment, securing appointments with a card-on-file is the single best way to get that done.
The policy is this simple. In order for you to set an appointment with a patient, that patient is required to consent to placing a credit or debit card-on-file for use in collecting payment after treatment and securing an appointment. No card-on-file, no appointment.
Here’s a sample script for getting it done.
Patient: I’d like to set an appointment
Practice: I’d love to help you with that. What day would you like to come in?
From here you’ll collect the date, time, insurance info, and other necessary information according to your policy – and depending on if the person is a new or existing patient.
Just before you verbally confirm the appointment, ask the final question.
Practice: One last step and we will be set for your appointment on (date) at (time). The Doctor asks each of her/his patients to place a payment card on file to simplify the billing process after treatment. What credit or debit card would you like to use to secure (reserve, set) the appointment?
Patient: (Many patients will think nothing of this and give you the information) Those who object will say something like the following:
- Patient: You’ve never asked me for a payment card before. Practice: That’s true. We decided to make payment more convenient for our patients and less time consuming for our staff. We won’t charge anything to the card until you’ve received your EOB from your insurance company and we know the exact amount you owe after they have paid their part.
- Patient: I don’t give my credit card number out. Practice: We understand the reluctance. We don’t keep the information on-site. It’s stored securely with the company that handles our credit card processing. It’s just like paying for a purchase online.
- Patient: Is there another way? Practice: Sure, we can take a deposit today for the estimated amount of the treatment. Once we submit the claim to your insurance and reconcile the amounts, we can refund whatever amount isn’t needed.
- Patient: My treatment will be expensive. I can’t pay that all at once. Practice: No problem, we can take your card information and set up automatic payments at an amount that you can handle. The payments won’t start till after your treatment.
At this point the patient will either give you their card information or refuse.
Practice: (If patient confirms the appointment with a card). Thank you very much. Your appointment is set. We will not process any payments on this card until you are here for your appointment. At that time you will have the option of paying your co-pay with this card or another method. Any remaining balances will be charged to this card.
Practice: (If patient refuses) I’m sorry we can’t confirm the appointment for you. Please feel free to call back when you feel you can confirm the appointment with a payment card.
These may sound like unnecessary steps. And they may be if your past due accounts receivable balances are low. But that’s not the case with most medical practices. Most medical practices have large balances in 60-120 A/R with no way to really stop more accounts from slipping into past due territory.
Having a card-on-file and consent to use it ensures you have a way to get paid. Obtaining that information when setting the appointment (when the patient is most likely to agree to it) makes it easy. It also helps to eliminate those patients who don’t intend to pay you or won’t pay you on time. If non-payers never become patients, they won’t cost you the time, money, and frustration of chasing a payment they will never make.
There may be valid reasons your practice can’t initiate a policy like this. In our experience in healthcare payments, those practices are few. There are creative ways to implement variations of this scripting that take your unique needs into account. If you need some help, feel free to call us. We’ll take the time to help you figure it out!