Tag Archives: Debt

5 Things to Avoid When Collecting Debt From Customers

22 Aug

Before conducting debt collections, make sure you understand the do’s and don’ts of the industry.

The do’s and don’ts of collecting debt are a sticky wicket. If you do it wrong, you can alienate potential customers, ruin your reputation, and maybe even pick up a hefty fine from regulators. Playing by the rules means compliance with all laws, certainly, but also collecting debt in a way that treats every customer with dignity and respect.

Here are five things to avoid when collecting debt from customers.

Do Not Try This at Home – or at the Office

debt-collector-angry-call-monster

We’ve heard all the horror stories from collections gone awry. Industry publications such as Inside ARM often report on companies fined by regulators for breaking collection regulations. Our biggest complaint, beyond the fact that these techniques are generally not effective, is that conducting yourself in this manner gives the collections industry a bad reputation. Not good!

The best course of action is to partner with a professional collection agency like TSI. But just in case you plan to give debt recovery on your own a try, here are some things that should never be part of your DIY debt collection strategy:

  1. Don’t stalk your customers. Really! This means you (or the debt collector for that matter) cannot show up at someone’s workplace and demand they pay you. The law also prohibits you from publicizing the debt, too, so even though you want to go on Facebook call out someone that owes you money – don’t. Here is the caveat: You may, respectfully, call the customer at work but you cannot let the other workers know that you’re trying to collect on a debt. Plus, if the customer asks you to not call them at work, you legally must comply.
  2. Don’t harass your customers. See #1. But actions such as repeated calls, threats of violence, and extreme language are not only bad form, they’re illegal too. For a small business owner, it feels personal when someone doesn’t pay. But conducting yourself in a professional way will pay off in the long run.

There are rules about pursuing debt collections – make sure you follow them.

  1. You can’t arrest the debtor. Sorry, we know this may not feel fair, but if a customer is 90-days past due, you cannot call 911 for help. However, there may be legal actions you can take in certain circumstances.
  2. You cannot pursue the debtor for things they don’t owe. This happens a lot when the data you have on the customer is inaccurate. So many times we see that the person already paid the debt but the information wasn’t logged properly. A simple mistake can land you in hot water, so use caution and double-check the facts before pursuing a debt.
  3. You cannot call at odd hours of the day and night. Did you know there are rules that state you can only call a past-due customer between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm? For small business owners that work hard all day, this means just because you’re up at 7:30 am you can’t squeeze in a few collections calls.

If you’re worried about running afoul of the rules of collecting debt, you don’t need to.

Source: TSI

Contact me today at 888-780-1333, and I’ll show you how to collect more money, cut costs, and stay 100% compliant with all of the many laws and regulations that relate to debt collection.

After all…it’s your money!  Keep more of it!!

How Debt Collection Affects Revenue Cycle in Healthcare

2 Apr

medical-debtDebt collection is a hot topic in healthcare revenue cycle circles. That’s because hospitals are facing higher costs, declining reimbursement, along with high-deductible insurance policies and patients that simply cannot afford to pay.

This article looks at how debt collection best practices could improve the revenue cycle in healthcare. What are the issues affecting debt in healthcare?

Debt Collection and Medical Billing 

Medical billing serves at the core of healthcare revenue cycle. But Rev Cycle Intelligence points out the elephant in the room: Medical billing is often riddled with errors.

Simple mistakes in the patient billing record are a challenge in the revenue cycle. Collecting patient information at the front desk lays the reimbursement framework that every revenue cycle is built upon.

When you cull out simple human mistakes, providers are still left with the complexities inherent in billing practices that are unique to every payer. That alone creates glitches in clinical cash flow when reimbursements are submitted and rejected by the payer.

Another problem with medical billing is tied to the healthcare paradigm itself. It is a patchwork of disparate providers – even within a single health system. If the steps to getting paid hinge upon a previous interaction, but documentation are peppered with missing pieces, the likelihood of that provider being reimbursed by a payer drops with every missed checkbox.

A frequent issue that occurs well before the bill is generated is the issue of collecting a patient’s co-pay. Even when the co-pay is $20, the medical practitioner at the front desk may fail to collect it. For clinical administrators, it can be difficult to ask for payment from a sick patient. Now imagine the struggles when a patient has a $2,000 deductible. But failing to collect this revenue up front does nothing to alleviate patient responsibility for their bill. In fact, it almost certainly guarantees the need for debt collection later. Rev Cycle Intelligence states that 90% of the 12.7 million Americans participating in 2016’s open enrollment had high deductible insurance.

InsideARM has been waving a red flag around this issue, citing statistics that say, “The percentage of consumers not paying their total hospital bills will increase to 95 percent by 2020.” Even worse news for hospital revenue cycle, the volume of patients who are only paying a part of their overall hospital bill has declined from around 90 percent in 2015 to 77 percent in 2016.

As bad debt rises, healthcare providers are turning to debt collection agencies to help save their revenue cycle.

Debt Collection Improves Healthcare Revenue Cycle

TSI specializes in debt collection in the healthcare space. With over 45+ years of healthcare collection experience, we use an empathetic approach to collections to protect the patient relationships you’ve worked hard to cultivate. We understand the delicacy inherent in keeping patient satisfaction scores high while still collecting on an unpaid medical debt. That’s why we’ve invested in technology that can help us collect on all bad debt in ways that acknowledge and respond to patient payment preferences across multiple digital venues as well as through more traditional formats.

In addition, our proprietary data analytics platform, CollectX boosts your results by identifying the most liquid accounts and ensuring they receive the appropriate collections activity. Since implementation of CollectX, our clients have seen on average a 22% lift to their liquidation rates. Maintain your patient relationships, while improving your revenue cycle, with TSI.

To learn more about how to optimize your revenue, contact me today at 888-780-1333 or at david.wiener@cashflowstrategies.us.

RECOGNIZING THE FOUR PATIENT PAYER TYPES

20 Mar

The way that healthcare approached patient payers in the past no longer works nearly as effectively as it once did.  With the dramatic rise in high deductible health plans (HDHP) and higher co-pays, collecting patient balances quickly and effectively is imperative.  The “one size fits all” approach is dead, both in follow-up and collections of slow-pay and delinquents accounts.

Reasons for a patient not paying the bill when due can be varied.  Some don’t pay on time because of financial reasons, many times because of the high deductibles in their health plan.  Others have the funds but, due to confusion surrounding their insurance policy, aren’t sure the balance is correct.  Others are simply too disorganized to remember to find the statement and pay the bill when they have the money.  Still others feel that their insurance has paid enough and the practice should be satisfied with that.  Some will say, “that doctor is rich, he doesn’t need my money!”

It is a delicate balance that practices must strike to be aggressive enough to motivate the patient to pay the bill without being so aggressive that the practice risks losing what might be a profitable patient in the future.  Some practices spend great deals of money with internal follow-up through statements, phone calls and letters, not realizing that each contact with a patient in follow-up internally can cost the practice between $10-12.  That expense, not to mention the staff time and attention this takes, can wind up making the whole follow-up proposition more expensive than it is actually worth.

So what is a practice supposed to do?

We, at TSI (formerly known as Transworld Systems) have determined that there are actually four distinct types of patient payers.  Each is motivated in a different way to pay the bill, and it is a mistake to treat them all the same.  They are:

THE DUTIFUL PAYER

The dutiful payer feels a keen responsibility to pay their debts in a timely manner.  They are motivated to pay the bill by the initial statement you send following patient responsibility.  Fortunately, they are (or should be) the largest category in your practice.

THE DISTRACTED PAYER

The distracted payer has the very best intentions to pay your bill, but they seem to be so busy and distracted that they misplace your statement or just forget to pay it.  Timely reminders are sufficient to motivate them to get that bill paid.

THE DISRESPECTFUL PAYER

The disrespectful payer tries to see what they can get away with, and hope that you will give up trying to collect the bill if they dodge you long enough.  They do not respond to your statements, letters, or phone calls.  Rather it will take a contact by a third party collection agency for them to be convinced that the practice is serious about collecting the debt.  That alone will motivate them to pay, and they will generally pay the bill after they receive the first contact by that third party.

PROFESSIONAL DEBTOR

The professional debtor never intended to pay the bill when they received service.  They are likely in collections with other creditors already.  These, and these alone, need to be in the hands of professional collectors, familiar with medical debt, before too much time has elapsed and too much money has already been spent chasing them.

TSI offers a free interface that works with virtually all dental software to help you identify which type of category each patient falls into, and tools to communicate with them in an appropriate manner.  The practice retains control of each account, and the type of communication that is being used on a particular patient.  These tools eliminate the need for the practice to continue time-consuming internal chasing of accounts at a cost that is generally less than they are spending on follow up currently.

For a full description of the tools and services provided by TSI, please call 888-780-1333 to speak to me personally, or email me at david.wiener@transworldsystems.com.

 

Finding Debt Assistance

6 Nov

TSI | Date :- November 3, 2017

There are times when even the most conscientious consumer may find they need debt assistance. The first thing to understand is that there is no shame in this. Occasionally, people need help finding out what their options are and how to best go about handling any issues that might have cropped up. The world is uncertain, so it is good to know that there are people out there that can help you get back on track.

 

Types of Debt Assistance

It is important to keep in mind that not all debt assistance may be the same. Typically, there are a number of different types of agencies that you may find yourself going to, each may have their own approaches to the way that debt can be made more manageable. Here are just a few of the options you have when looking for ways to repay a debt.

Credit Counseling –This system is usually focused entirely on the debtor, helping them develop budgets, pointing them at educational materials and workshops, and generally guiding people toward making the life changes that they may need to in order to meet their obligations. Usually, after an initial session, there may be the need for follow up sessions to help you keep on track.

Debt Consolidation – Debt consolidation involves taking out a loan to pay off smaller loans or debts. Sometimes this takes the form of balance transfers onto a new credit card with a 0% or lower APR. Another version of debt consolidation would be to take out a home equity line of credit and use that loan to pay off your others. Debt consolidation can help consumers roll multiple payments into one, typically at a lower interest rate or for a lower monthly payment making their debt a little more manageable.

Working directly with the collection agency or companies you owe – A number of agencies like TSI (Transworld Systems Inc.), are there to provide assistance for people that do not know who they should talk to about setting up payments, paying off a debt that is owed, or requesting information about their debt. This may be a good way to start looking for solutions when faced with collection letters or calls. Most collection agencies are willing to work with you to find repayment options that work for you if you keep the lines of communication open.

 

Getting the Right Counselors

No matter what option you choose when looking for debt assistance, make sure to ask lots of questions.  At TSI, our representatives are trained to provide knowledgeable consumer assistance and want to help in any way we can.

We understand that debt can be crushing for anybody and may cause incredible amounts of stress for a person and their family. That is why it may be a good idea, if you are struggling with debt, to look at your options for debt assistance from TSI.

Contact me directly at 770-224-8504 or email me for more information

RECOGNIZING THE FOUR PATIENT PAYER TYPES

12 Feb

The way that healthcare approached patient payers in the past no longer works nearly as effectively as it once did.  With the dramatic rise in high deductible health plans (HDHP) and higher co-pays, collecting patient balances quickly and effectively is imperative.  The “one size fits all” approach is dead, both in follow-up and collections of slow-pay and delinquents accounts.

Reasons for a patient not paying the bill when due can be varied.  Some don’t pay on time because of financial reasons, many times because of the high deductibles in their health plan.  Others have the funds but, due to confusion surrounding their insurance policy, aren’t sure the balance is correct.  Others are simply too disorganized to remember to find the statement and pay the bill when they have the money.  Still others feel that their insurance has paid enough and the practice should be satisfied with that.  Some will say, “that doctor is rich, he doesn’t need my money!”

It is a delicate balance that practices must strike to be aggressive enough to motivate the patient to pay the bill without being so aggressive that the practice risks losing what might be a profitable patient in the future.  Some practices spend great deals of money with internal follow-up through statements, phone calls and letters, not realizing that each contact with a patient in follow-up internally can cost the practice between $10-12.  That expense, not to mention the staff time and attention this takes, can wind up making the whole follow-up proposition more expensive than it is actually worth.

So what is a practice supposed to do?

We, at TSI (formerly known as Transworld Systems) have determined that there are actually four distinct types of patient payers.  Each is motivated in a different way to pay the bill, and it is a mistake to treat them all the same.  They are:

THE DUTIFUL PAYER

The dutiful payer feels a keen responsibility to pay their debts in a timely manner.  They are motivated to pay the bill by the initial statement you send following patient responsibility.  Fortunately, they are (or should be) the largest category in your practice.

THE DISTRACTED PAYER

The distracted payer has the very best intentions to pay your bill, but they seem to be so busy and distracted that they misplace your statement or just forget to pay it.  Timely reminders are sufficient to motivate them to get that bill paid.

THE DISRESPECTFUL PAYER

The disrespectful payer tries to see what they can get away with, and hope that you will give up trying to collect the bill if they dodge you long enough.  They do not respond to your statements, letters, or phone calls.  Rather it will take a contact by a third party collection agency for them to be convinced that the practice is serious about collecting the debt.  That alone will motivate them to pay, and they will generally pay the bill after they receive the first contact by that third party.

PROFESSIONAL DEBTOR

The professional debtor never intended to pay the bill when they received service.  They are likely in collections with other creditors already.  These, and these alone, need to be in the hands of professional collectors, familiar with medical debt, before too much time has elapsed and too much money has already been spent chasing them.

TSI offers a free interface that works with virtually all dental software to help you identify which type of category each patient falls into, and tools to communicate with them in an appropriate manner.  The practice retains control of each account, and the type of communication that is being used on a particular patient.  These tools eliminate the need for the practice to continue time-consuming internal chasing of accounts at a cost that is generally less than they are spending on follow up currently.

For a full description of the tools and services provided by TSI, please call 888-780-1333 to speak to me personally, or email me at david.wiener@transworldsystems.com.

 

Medical and Dental Practices: Is insurance follow-up eating up your staff time?

11 Feb

Insurance companies have a vested interest in paying your practice as slowly as possible. They will delay, deny, and “on-hold” you to death just to keep your money a few days longer and earn interest on that money.

 

Living “on-hold” with insurance companies seems to be a way of life for some of your office staff, as clerks search forever for claim information. Sitting and waiting while they look up claims is costing you big time, not just in employee salaries, but also in lost productive time.

 

What if there was a highly effective, inexpensive way to motivate insurance companies to contact you regarding those claims? What if you didn’t have to waste the time of your employees “on-hold?” What if you could get an answer or your money more quickly?

 

Transworld Systems, a sponsored program with the AMA, a Preferred Vendor with the MGMA, and the largest collector of medical debt in the US, has a unique Insurance Resolution service that you can use to make these things a reality. For a low flat fee per claim, you can have them contact the insurance companies for you. When the insurance companies are contacted by a third party such as Transworld Systems, they will treat the inquiry with much higher priority than they will when they are contacted by your practice or a hospital. When receiving a third party inquiry, they are required to escalate the inquiry to a supervisor, and then have the supervisor contact your practice to resolve the claim.

It’s quick, it’s inexpensive, and it’s easy. And best of all, you can have your “on-hold” person spend their time on something less frustrating and more profitable for your practice.

It is just one of a whole suite of services that Transworld Systems can provide for your practice to help you get paid faster by both patients and insurance companies. Contact me for a free 30 minute demonstration of their services and a no-obligation analysis of your Accounts Receivable. Call me at 888-780-1333, or email me at davidhwiener@gmail.com.

A Warning You Need to Read: Don’t Believe in Something For Nothing!

14 Jan

Many businesses have been told by their collection agency that they can provide free collections to them simply by adding the percentage fee onto the debtor’s balance as “the cost of collections”  In other words, promising prospective customers “something for nothing.”  With the high cost of collection agencies, this is a very tempting offer for a business who needs to collect their money and hesitates at paying an agency their typical 30-50% fee for collecting.

DON’T BELIEVE IT!!

First of all, the match doesn’t work anyway.  If the fee is 50% and the agency or the client adds the 50% back into the bill before it is collected, the client will only receive 50% of the new balance, which is not the full amount (only 75% of the original bill)

More importantly than that, the agency is tempting you to violate Federal Laws against usury.  The agency is setting themselves, AND POTENTIALLY YOU, up for a law suit and stiff fines and penalties.  Even if you put a statement to that effect into your financial policy, you may not charge these percentages to recoup your collection fees.

Please take a moment to read this article, copied from the ACA International (American Collector’s Association) website about a recent court case against such an unscrupulous agency.

Court Rules Against Collecting Percentage-Based Fees

Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that charging consumers a percentage
of their account balance as a collection fee is a violation of the FDCPA unless
the consumer explicitly agreed to pay a percentage-based fee.

In a Jan. 2, 2014, ruling, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals found that a collection
agency may not collect a fee based on a percentage of the account balance if the
original contract between the consumer and creditor did not specify the consumer
would be responsible for a percentage-based fee.

In the case, Bradley v. Franklin Collection Service Inc., the consumer plaintiff had
signed a patient agreement when receiving medical treatment that stated, “In the
event of nonpayment… I agree to pay all costs of collection, including a reasonable
attorney’s fee…” The creditor subsequently added a 33-1/3 percent fee (reflecting
the contractually agreed upon fee between the creditor and the collection agency)
before forwarding the account to the collection agency.

The court ruled that the plaintiff, “agreed to pay the actual costs of collection; his
contractual agreement with [creditor] did not require him to pay a collection agency’s
percentage-based fee where that fee did not correlate to the costs of collection.”
The court found that the percentage-based fee, assessed before the collection
agency’s attempt to collect, was not related to the agency’s actual cost of collection,
thus breaching the agreement between the consumer and the creditor. Therefore,
the court held that the collection agency violated the FDCPA by collecting the 33-1/3
percent fee when the consumer only agreed to pay the actual costs of collection.

© 2014 ACA International

In other cases, medical practices, along with the agency, were charged under racketeering laws for the very same offense.  The fines and penalties that they were required to pay were astronomical.

Please, let me show you a way to avoid the percentages charged by these collection agencies, without running afoul of the law, and while collecting more money than they do in the process.

Respond to me through the form below and I will rush you the information on how to avoid these kinds of unscrupulous methods and still collect more of your hard earned money.

The Importance of Cash Flow

5 Sep

Importance-of-Cash-Flow1

 

Cash flow is the life blood of businesses and there are many businesses and practices that have cash flow problems.  Since 1970 Transworld Systems has been working with small and medium sized businesses and practices to improve their accounts receivable and increase their cash flow!

Transworld Systems can improve your accounts receivable and increase cash flow with Accelerator by recovering your money faster!  Contact me  today to learn more about how we can help you!

HIPAA: How to protect yourself and your practice | Medical Economics

13 Aug

HIPAA compliance is getting more complicated, and more essential.  Is your A/R management or collection agency doing anything to protect you from violations of HIPAA, FDCPA, HITECH, and TCPA?  If not, you may be liable for drastic penalties.

HIPAA: How to protect yourself and your practice | Medical Economics.

Dispelling Collection Myths

25 May

myths-twsystems

 

 

ACA (American Collectors Association) International seeks to dispel commonly held myths about the credit and collections industry. Today more than 30 million consumers have delinquent or defaulted accounts under collection, averaging $1,400 each.

“Repayment of consumer debt is the lifeblood of America’s credit-based system and vitally important to the national and state economies,” ACA International Chief Executive Officer Pat Morris said. “It helps ensure that affordable credit is available, goods and services remain affordable, sustains jobs and supports keeping taxes low.”

As an industry, third-party debt collectors help employ more than 300,000 people, pay nearly $2 billion in federal, state and local taxes, donate $85 million and volunteer 650,000 hours to charitable organizations in local communities. “Whether a small town hospital, business or a city struggling to recover taxpayer owed dollars, organizations large and small rely on the recovery of rightfully owed consumer debt,” Morris said.

Myth 1: Avoiding a Debt Collector Makes the Debt Go Away. Consumers who ask debt collectors to stop contact or choose not to respond to calls or letters often mistakenly believe it means their debt has been eliminated. Avoiding contact will not erase a debt. Instead, consumers should communicate with collectors to discuss the account, verify its accuracy and work on a plan for resolution. If consumers don’t owe the debt, communicating with collectors can help put a stop to calls or letters.

Myth 2: Consumers Don’t Have Rights in the Recovery of Past Due Accounts. The collection of consumer debt is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the United States. Consumers have important rights under a number of federal and state laws. For more information about what to do if contacted by a debt collector please visit www.askdoctordebt.org.

Myth 3: All Debt Collectors are Bad. Just as “all consumers” aren’t the same, neither are all debt collectors. Most are committed to professionalism, training and customer service. When it comes to the “bad guys,” we want to put them out of business just as consumers do. ACA International and its members continue to work with state and federal policymakers, regulators, courts and attorneys general to comply with the law and hold accountable those who do not.

Myth 4: It is Boom Time for Debt Collectors. It’s no secret that consumers have struggled financially in the current economy. Despite an increase in defaults and delinquency, the inability of consumers to repay rightfully owed debts trickles down to those charged with their recovery.

© 2012 ACA International. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with the express written permission of ACA International

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