Sorting It Out

Sorting It OutiStock_000015493750XSmall

by Erez Lirov

Credit cards can create a variety of compliance issues for practices

What are Shannon’s next steps to sort out her credit card system?

“Mike!” Shannon checked everything in the physical therapy facility with a practiced eye as she walked across the carpeted floor. She loved to see everyone busy and engaged, and things were going well at the moment. She had a word with the receptionist and steered her husband out the door.

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“I was hoping you’d have time to come for a walk,” Mike said. “I needed to get away from the restaurant for a bit.”

“Problems?” Shannon’s voice was concerned.

“No, just a need for a change of scenery, a breath of air.” Mike took his wife’s hand. “It looks as though things are going well at your place, too.”

“Definitely,” Shannon agreed. “I know it won’t last –”

Mike laughed. With two small businesses in the family, there were bound to be plenty of problems to discuss.

“Seriously,” Shannon continued, “I want your advice about something. It’s not really a problem, but I think I could cut costs if I made some changes with the credit cards.”

“Now you’re talking!” Mike threw his arms wide. “I can’t believe you guys post everything manually!”

“I never really thought about it before,” said Shannon, “but today I was watching and it just seems so complicated. We take cash, checks, credit cards, and debit cards for deductibles, balances, all the things we sell at the counter… And we take the information over the phone or copy it off the card. Tana took the info via text today.”

“I’d have thought that might be a HIPAA issue,” Mike said with one eyebrow raised.

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“I think it might be all kinds of an issue,” Shannon confirmed. “Plus, since we have so many different things going on, I can really see how there could be errors. Theresa said she wasn’t sure we always know when a card is declined, or if we always follow up on those cases to get alternate forms of payment, and I can believe it. It seems like practically everyone in the place took a payment at some point this morning. I don’t see how we could keep track of everything.”

“At the restaurant, the server picks up the card at the end of the meal. One type of transaction, and we know exactly who did it and when. It doesn’t sound like that’s true for you.”

“Exactly. I wonder, too, whether there isn’t a bit of psychological barrier in having to pull out that credit card.” Shannon checked her watch. “I’d better get back to work. Thanks for listening.”

“I’m happy to listen,” Mike said, turning back. “What’s your next step? I could hook you up with the company that supplied our credit card terminal.”

“I don’t know whether that’s what we need or not,” Shannon said. “Do you think we have to have something different  to be HIPAA compliant?”

“I don’t think I can answer that question,” Mike said. “Time for me to get back to my own credit card machine.”

What are Shannon’s next steps to sort out her credit card system?

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8 replies
  1. Reuven Lirov, M.A.
    Reuven Lirov, M.A. says:

    Having a clear process for tracking multiple different kinds of payments processed is critical in any physical therapy practice. PCI compliance is a must, which is why I recommend Fortis to my clients, as well as tying that to a system that allows for auto-posting and reconciliation.

  2. Yuval Lirov
    Yuval Lirov says:

    Target was recently fined $1.1 BILLION for losing client credit cards to hackers. Failing a PCI audit can fetch a $25,000 monthly penalty.

  3. Michelle Corrigan
    Michelle Corrigan says:

    With manual postings and every team member taking every payment type available it is a miracle that Shannon has any clue who owes her what. Shannon needs a credit card company that is integrated with her Practice Management System that will automatically post credit card payment and alert her of declined transactions. This addition to her work flow will save Shannon and her team a lot of time and frustration.

  4. Thomas J
    Thomas J says:

    The informal collection of credit card information put your patients at risk of identity theft and it opens your office to tremendous liability. The potential fines associated with the improper handling of this information can easily bankrupt you.

    And a patient is less likely to purchase service or goods with their credit card when they are not comfortable that the information is safe.

    There is a lot of competition among the credit card processing companies, the features and services that are offered differ among them. Right now, I suggest to all of the providers I work with that they look into the company Fortis Payments.

  5. Robin Kortman
    Robin Kortman says:

    a specific process in place how does a practice owner know if they are
    protecting their patient credit card information, errors have been made with
    the manual process or patient accounts are correct. By integrating Fortis, a company that follows
    HIPAA and P.C. I safety guidelines, and automates posting the provider can have
    peace of mind and avoid those awkward conversations with patients

  6. Naomi Perez
    Naomi Perez says:

    Shannon needs to call Fortis, they have experience with medical practices and will be able to answer her compliance questions. She will never have to re-post, balance or worry over declined credit card’s again.

  7. Heather Miller
    Heather Miller says:

    Shannon needs find a company that is integrated with her current practice management solution. Using a system like Fortis would allow the office to setup auto debits for there patients thus reducing the risk of missing payments and avoiding uncomfortable conversations with patients about money.

  8. Naomi Perez
    Naomi Perez says:

    All of Shannon’s needs will be met by making one phone call. Fortis is the leader in credit card processing. They can alert you to declined charges, balances out daily, and post directly to patient accounts since it integrates smoothly into her medical software,

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