A Missing Piece
A Missing PieceÂ
by Erez Lirov
In the budget of a busy practice, credit card fees can add up.
Could Shannon handle credit cards better in her physical therapy practice?
Getting the family out the door in the morning was always a challenge for Mike and Shannon, but they felt like they had a great system. Each child had a hook for a jacket and a cubby for shoes at the door. Homework went in the cubby, too, and lunches were packed and lined up on the counter. The kids knew they had to stand touching the car door till Mom or Dad arrived to unlock it, and then they scrambled into their seats and waited patiently to be strapped in with seat belts before taking off. It was noisy and it sometimes felt chaotic, but things always went pretty smoothly and everybody got where they were supposed to go.
Once Shannon dropped off their youngest at daycare, she headed on into the office, thinking about that system. She knew that Mike would get the older kids to school on time before he went to the restaurant. Sometimes his schedule was different so they divided things up differently, but it always felt like good teamwork, and she loved that feeling.
Things had been going more smoothly at work, too. Shannon thought back to her conversation with Mike that morning as they both got ready for work. â€œIt seems like youâ€™ve got your team back together,â€ he had said, and that was just how it felt.
With that issue off her plate, Shannon could think about some of the other matters that had been on the back burner for a while. She knew the facility needed updating, for example, but that was going to need funds, so Shannon was looking at her expenses closely to see where she could cut costs and free up some cash.
It wouldnâ€™t take much, she thought as she parked and walked into the building. There were bound to be areas where she could streamline things a little bit and achieve some savings.
She asked Theresaâ€™s opinion as soon as she got inside, and Theresa immediately had an answer. â€œCredit cards.â€
Shannon was surprised. She had been thinking the free coffee in the staff room might be an avoidable expense, or that marketing costs could be cut. â€œWhat do you mean?â€
â€œI think the fees are higher than they should they be,â€ Theresa said. â€œI know itâ€™s a basic cost of doing business, but maybe we could shop around and see if thereâ€™s a cheaper alternative.â€
Shannon nodded. They really hadnâ€™t compared prices; when she first set up the practice, she had basically just asked the guy who installed their telephones for a recommendation, and they hadnâ€™t revisited the question since.
â€œPlus, since we post all the payments manually, thereâ€™s a possibility for error. Weâ€™re all careful, of course, but I canâ€™t swear that we catch every time when a card is declined, for example. Sometimes the person who takes the information is not the same person who posts the payment, and some are sort of automatic.â€
â€œSort of automatic?â€ Shannon hadnâ€™t realized things were so shaky in this area.
â€œWell, we have clients who have set up an automatic bank draft or we have all their information in the system already, and some who are newâ€¦â€ Theresaâ€™s voice trailed off. â€œI guess there are a lot of variables in the way we take payments.â€
It was a lot like the way they got their family out the door in the morning, Shannon thought, but in this case every little extra bit of chaos could mean extra costs, not just extra noise.
â€œThis might be the last piece of the puzzle,â€ Shannon said. â€œOr at least the next one. It sounds like a real opportunity for improvement.â€
â€œAnd we could finally get some new paint in here?â€ Theresa joked.
Shannon smiled. â€œThe first few hundred we save goes straight into the redecorating fund,â€ she promised.
It can be a nuisance to change something as fundamental as your credit card payment system, especially when, on a transaction-by-transaction basis, the fees don’t seem like much. Only when you take a look at things for the long term can you see how much you’re spending for this convenience — and how much you could be saving.
There are practices that feel the cost of implementing the use of credit
cards is too high! Is the being paid on time, having re-occurring
payments, an automated process and knowing the process is compliant to
much to risk?
Analyzing your practice is a great monthly activity. All of my practice coaches require each of their practices to meet with them monthly to make sure that all team members are doing their job. The patient’s job is to pay for their care!
Let’s make that job easier by not only looking for a solution that will run recurring payments so that patients can focus on their recovery, but alerts you when something has gone wrong. I recommend Fortis to our clients. They keep you and your patients focused on the right stuff.
Credit card processing is not something that people want to spend time thinking about but it is integral for a practice with the average patient balance being $754. Using a company that is integrated with your software like Fortis makes this process simple. Fortis post payments automatically saving time and reducing errors. It also notifies you if a payment is declined allowing you to follow up and not let anything fall through the cracks.
It appears that Shannon does not have a system in place to track her patient balances. Managing her patient collections should be as regimented as her morning routine with her family and come with the same sense of satisfaction when it all comes together. Shannon needs to research the companies that her Practice Management Company is integrated with. Is sounds like she would benefit from a company that will auto post to patient accounts and automated notifications when a payment is declined or when patient information does not match.
How embarrassing is it to ask a patient to pay a balance they already paid? How can you strengthen your patient relationships by harping on outstanding balances that may or may not exist? Get an Auto Debit company like Fortis to track all payments, declined and expired credit cards to ensure you’re on top of this before you lose patients.
Shannon definitely needs to shop around for a better solution. I recommend starting with Fortis. They have lower rates, a streamline process to reduce the risk of errors and a proven track record.
Obviously, Shannon has a detailed process for her children’s morning routine, why would her manner of collecting patient balances not be as precise? Fortis is a perfect addition to her practice, it allows a seamless integration into her current software and for only a fraction of the cost of other credit card processing companies.
Shannon could definitely shop around to find a better solution. Fortis is a solution that would allow the office to fix some of the internal issues they are having at the office. Fortis will allow auto debiting, will integrate with the patient account (by posting the payment automatically) and let the office staff know if a payment has been declined.
With fewer people carrying cash, and the rarity at which you see people paying for by check, consumers expect to be able to pay for their goods and services with their credit card. Failing to provide this courtesy to your patients puts you at a distinct disadvantage when compared to your competition that does.
But processing credit card payments can be complicated and expensive. That’s why I suggest to all of the therapists I work with that they use the Fortis. It’s simply the most competitively priced service that I know of, and it integrates seamlessly with bestPT. The offices that I know who are working with this company have seem dramatic reductions in the time the office spends posting payments, verifying eligibility, and correcting mistakes.