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By Monica E. Oss

September 10, 2011

Here at OPEN MINDS we never tire of reader feedback, and our recent daily update on the poor collections rates among provider organizations has elicited a fair number of perspectives from our OPEN MINDS Circle readers (The Collections Conundrum all members).

The response we’d like to highlight today is from OPEN MINDS Advisory Board member Gary Humble, who offered us insight into how collecting patient benefit information before appointments, can help a service provider organization to managing copayments, co-insurance, and deductibles.

“If benefits are verified before the patient comes in for their appointment you can even develop a patient financial worksheet showing them what you charge, what insurance allows and what their responsibility will be,” wrote Mr. Humble. “Most insurance carriers will tell you how much the patient has met towards deductibles, out of pocket maximums, etc. It is very easy to communicate with the patient about their responsibility.”

And being forthcoming about all possible costs can work in provider organizations’ favor – “By reviewing the patient’s benefits before services are rendered, you won’t be accused of the old bait and switch ploy. Even though the patients may not be happy with the fact that they may have to pay a little more than they thought, they will be appreciative of the straight forward financial answers. I have seen this first hand and have been told that it was the first time that anyone ever gave them a straight answer about how much this would cost.”

There was a consistent theme in reader comments about the collections process – it is a complex and complicated process that would be more successful if it were made simpler for consumers. If you have any additional thoughts to add, e-mail us at


Monica E. Oss
Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS


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To read more on tracking and managing organizational financial viability, see: Monitoring & Managing Unit Cost: An emerging domain in best practice management systems all members 

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