We’re at that magical time of the year: the fourth quarter, when many patients have met their deductibles and are eligible to receive medical services with little or no cost-sharing. It’s a great time for patients to schedule allergy testing, follow up appointments and other services – and pay less out of their own pockets for these visits. Is your allergy practice taking advantage of this opportunity to provide patients with much-needed services and earn extra revenue?
Many patients miss out on this opportunity because they don’t understand how much money they could save by scheduling services this year, after they’ve met their deductible, instead of waiting until next year. Your practice can help educate patients. Here are some suggestions to help you maximize revenue – and help patients – in the fourth quarter:
1. Identify the patients who could benefit most.
- Patients who could benefit from allergy testing (skin testing, drug testing, food testing, etc.), but declined because of cost or a high deductible.
- Patients due for a follow up visit but keep putting it off or haven’t yet scheduled one.
- Candidates for cluster or rush immunotherapy who have declined due to cost.
- Patients who will run out of allergy extract in January or February and could benefit from getting new vials in December.
Patients like these who have met their deductible are all great candidates for fourth quarter services, when they will have little or no cost-sharing.
2. Harness the power of your electronic health record (EHR) and practice management system.
Your EHR and practice management system can help you identify patients in these categories by searching specific ICD-10 and CPT codes. For example, you can search your EHR to identify which patients are due or overdue for a follow up. You can also search your practice management system for patients who billed 95165 early in the year and may be due for more extract soon.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Reach out and explain to patients how much they could potentially save by scheduling a test or visit now instead of next year. Not only will you help them save money, you’ll also help them receive important services that can improve their quality of life.
- Estimate average savings for key services for your largest payers and share the specifics with patients who could benefit.
- Train both clinical and front desk staff to explain these opportunities to patients in the office.
- Use personalized emails, portal messages and phone calls to get your message out.
- Post explanations and reminders on social media and your website.
“We use our website, social media platforms and e-communications with established patients to communicate Q4 messaging,” said Robin Panethere, director of marketing & development for Atlanta Allergy & Asthma. “Beginning in October, our content calendar includes social media posts that remind people of the advantages of utilizing allergy services after their deductibles have been met. We will often 'boost' these Facebook posts, which means paying to get them seen by more people beyond our regular followers. We also use patient portal messages to remind/encourage patients to reorder extract and have it billed in this calendar year. These efforts have helped us maximize revenue as well as help patients access services that can help them feel better and live healthier lives. A win for all!”
Another potential benefit? The income you produce in the fourth quarter may help offset lower revenue in the first quarter, when some patients look to save money by delaying nonurgent medical services due to un-met deductibles.
Follow these steps and help your patients take advantage of the magical fourth quarter. Your patients will thank you, and so will your bottom line.