Credit Cards

curtis902

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Are any of your practices collecting credit card info from patients to keep on file for future balances? We were thinking of collecting the card info from the patient at the same time we gather their insurance card(s), id, etc at the first visit, but wondered how common of a practice this is??? Would appreciate any input on the matter.
 

JG24

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Las Vegas
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As a former Office Manager, I strongly urge you to reconsider the thought of keeping patient's credit card numbers on file to charge when balances are outstanding. They are so many risk that it is not worth taking --- the biggest one being the security of those credit card numbers and the guidelines involved in when they get used and how. Also, if patients do not sign the authorization slip, there is a risk you will have to deal with "disputed" charges. It is not just not worth the risk in my opinion and I have strongly discouraged it in all offices I have been involved with as well as physicians who I have spoken with. One disgruntled employee with too much access can create problems who don't want to have to deal with.
 

mmaclachlan

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I completely agree with JG24. We were keeping about six months on site for reference in billing. An outside consultant recommended we only keep one month and secure the slips not yet posted.
 

MEDCODING

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Credit cards

I have a question somewhat along the same lines....my practice is considering offering patients a free service of keeping their credit card on file-in a secured file of course-and if after insurance there is a patient balance we can automatically charge their credit card. I have read where some offices are trying this but I have not seen any feedback. My physicians are behind this 110% and want me to implement. Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks,
Kim
 

JudyW

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Virginia Beach, VA
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I have a question somewhat along the same lines....my practice is considering offering patients a free service of keeping their credit card on file-in a secured file of course-and if after insurance there is a patient balance we can automatically charge their credit card. I have read where some offices are trying this but I have not seen any feedback. My physicians are behind this 110% and want me to implement. Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks,
Kim
Due to all the reasons stated above and the risk of keeping patient's credit cards on file I would advice against this practice. I would think most patients would not even give you the ok to do this. I know I would not. Think about it, someone in the office is on hard times and they have access to this information or someone who is less than honest. It is just too risky. This is my personal opinion.
 

scorrado

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Bridgewater, VA
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We have debit/credit card info on file for patients that have agreed and signed a payment plan and want us to automatically use their card on the same day every month to make their payment. They don't want to have to worry about making the payment and we are assured that we get our money. Of course once the balance is paid the agreement is void. We do not have very many patients that do this but it is becoming more popular option with the patients.
 

hcg

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Kalispell, MT
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I bill a practice that does this kind of stuff. Every time there is an outstanding balance to the patient's account we send an email to the practice, let them know of the patient's balance & charged the patient's credit card. But there is advantage & disadvantage that we had experienced. One advantage was, it saved us time, we don't have to send out statements or call the patient to pay, and also patient's does not have to worry about outstanding balances. The disadvantage was patients sometimes forgot that they give their credit card info and freaks out when they received their credit card statement with a balance. Yes, it i risky, but yet it is convenient.
 

ajudd

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Rochester NY
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Our practice recently implemented storing credit cards on file.

We created an agreement form in which the patient will fill out and sign. We worded it that the CC info would be securely stored, with only 2 people having access to the information and that once the account was paid in full the CC information would be destroyed.

We've also created a formal policy for our compliance manual so there is something concrete to back up the plan.

WIth the growing high deductible plans, offering a convenient way for patients to make regular on time payments is crucial. We can't always rely on them to submit payment and this will also cut down on sending out statements. We send them a copy of the credit card receipt for their records. Much more cost effective for our practice.

If you would like more info, private message me and I can share our patient agreement letter and/or our policy so you have a spot to start....
 

AthensCoder

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My office is one that does keep credit cards on file; however the information is kept in a password protected spreadsheet. In addition there are only two people with the password, myself and the office manager. Once the balanc eis paid in full then the information is deleted from the spreasheet. This has worked extremely well with my practice and a lot of patient's like that they don't have to "remember" to send in their payment.
 

smartcoder

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we use online application for our billing-cc payments. Most of the online tools have feature where you can create a payment plan. you donot have to remember about the schedule. you can choose the amount, date and frequency for the transactions. Also you have records of all the transaction which you can access anytime you want.
 

JosephGar

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Risky yes but the option is lost revenue

I work at a Pediatricians office in NYC and currently bill for 4 doctors. Many of the Members who come in have Copayments, Co-Insurances, HRA plans and high deductables, etc. Not to mention those that come in with promises to place thier newborn children on insurances within 30 days. Many times this does not happen and the doctor is left with a balance on the Member's account. Due to the current attitude of "Doctor Last" when it comes to paying health care bills, this means that our office is forced to chase down people in order to receive payments for services. Often the payments come months late if at all and you will always hear that the member never recieved the 3-5 statements sent to them. I have always believed that these payments should be due directly to the Insurance companies. It would relieve the Doctor's from having to spend probably billions per year sending out bills and in lost revenue. Further, Members would not be able to abuse the system knowing that a physician would never turn away a sick visit despite any money owed them. At least ours do not.

This leaves the practice tens of thousands of dollars in the red when it comes to patient accounts. The only way I know of dealing with this is collecting credit card information and having the Members sign an agreement for the office to use that information if payment is not forthcoming. The information is held securely.

My question however is this: What is the best and most appropriate manner to ask for Credit Card information when established patients come to the desk? It is a busy practice and the staff generally do not have the time to ask.

I would appreciate any advice.

Thank you.
 

swright01

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swright

My company use to stored credit card information in a secured file but due to hipaa rules, we don't anymore. The decision was made by our compliance officer. :)
 

JosephGar

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I understand that the HIPAA laws are always a questionable minefield of rules and regulation, however what solution - if any - did your office come up with for addressing late or non-existant payments?
 

beckiw

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My office would never consider this. We had an employee taken out in handcuffs for personal use of patient's credit card numbers. For some people, it's just too tempting.
 
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