Sometimes, new patients show up wanting to establish a relationship for maintenance care or to have a doctor in place to help them with any future problems. But most of the time, a new patient comes to your office because they’re in pain. And, temporarily, this crisis may take precedence over concern about cost.
It’s not that these new patients have deeper pockets than most. They are simply struggling with a sufficient amount of discomfort or dysfunction that when they come through your door, they’re mostly thinking about getting pain relief, not about how they’re going to pay for it.
This honeymoon period of financial fearlessness doesn’t last. In fact, before treatment can even begin, the Financial Report of Findings (FROF) must be presented and the means of payment agreed upon. The new patient whose primary focus, up until this moment, has been “Wow, this really hurts, can you help me?” will now understandably shift gears to, “Wow, how am I going to pay for this?”
Money anxiety—whether yours, your staffs’, or your patients’—generally stems from fear of the unknown. Keep in mind that new chiropractic patients are likely to be confused about their insurance coverage, and may walk in with the assumption that their insurance company will pay for more than their policy allows.
The FROF is designed to allow staff to clearly back up the treatment plan set by the doctor with an out-of-pocket cost estimate for the care to be rendered. During the FROF, the CA explains, using the knowledge gained during the insurance verification process and their expertise won over time, how the patient’s insurance will work, when benefits will run out or change, the benefits of joining a discount medical plan organization (DMPO) like ChiroHealthUSA, what the estimated out-of-pocket cost will be and how the patient can fit payments into their budget.
All of the patient’s questions, objections, and more should be answered during the FROF. Having a clear understanding of finances up front allows the patient to progress through care without worrying about what they owe. Conversely, patients often drop out of care when their financial concerns aren’t addressed from the start.
When the treatment plan, financial plan, and pre-scheduled visits are in alignment and well-explained, patients are more likely to comply with treatment recommendations—and patient retention is higher, too. The FROF, as a part of an overall core relationship management system in your practice, can go a long way toward creating a roster of patients who stay, pay, and refer.
Kathy Mills Chang is a Certified Medical Compliance Specialist (MCS-P) and Certified Chiropractic Professional Coder (CCPC), and since 1983, has been providing chiropractors with reimbursement and compliance training, advice, and tools to improve the financial performance of their practices. Kathy leads a team of 15 at KMC University and is known as one of our profession’s foremost experts on Medicare. She or any of her team members can be reached at (855) 832-6562 or info@KMCUniversity.com.