Technology has made payment collection easier for clinics and patients. It has also made it easier for PT owners to collect outstanding balances. In this episode, Nathan Shields speaks with Sachin Bhatt of Rectangle Health about the current tech advantages that are available—text to bill, QR codes, payment online, secure CC storage, etc. All these options make it easier to collect and make $$. So tune in and find the best digital payment solution for you!
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5 Benefits Of Digital Payment Systems With Sachin Bhatt Of Rectangle Health
I’ve got on the show joining me, Sachin Bhatt of Rectangle Health. He is a Practice Solutions Consultant. Sachin, thanks for taking the time to come on with me.
Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Sachin reached out to me because their company, Rectangle Health, works with many healthcare industries regarding AR, collections, and digital payment solutions. Knowing the PT industry, and we’re typically 1, sometimes 2 decades behind the curve, I thought maybe I should represent someone like Sachin to tell us a little bit about what digital payment availabilities there are out there and the benefits of them. Before we get into it, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’re doing in the space.
Thank you, Nathan. I appreciate that. As Nathan said, I’m with Rectangle Health. We simply make things easier for the practices. Not just for the PT world, we’re in many different verticals: dentistry, medical in general, chiropractic, medical wellness centers, and whatnot. As far as the physical therapy world, we provide tools to make the process from the patient experience. In regards to making those payments, the point of sale when they come into a credit card transaction at the point of care to the billing cycle when it comes to those balances that need to be paid off. That is from the patient experience side.
From the actual office side when it comes to collecting those payments, enhancing the revenue cycle in a sense. Lastly, we also keep the office compliant with HIPAA. We acquire PCI HIPAA, which is a huge company out West. Through those guidelines of PCI HIPAA, we thrive in that. It is very important. In offices, not that they forget about those things, but they get busy in their office lives. You put it on the back burner, and it’s difficult to continue with the rules and regulations. We help and assist in all those facets of the office.
The cool thing about a digital company like yours is you provide a service in which you can integrate with the EMR and keep credit cards safely on file instead of the patients required to hand over the card at every visit. Thus, it’s a couple of pushes of the button to take a copay instead of running the card. It’s also the ability to establish payment plans easily through your program automatically deducted from their credit card or card that they have on file.
What I liked about it is the ability to not only establish those payment plans, but if you are sending out a letter or an email regarding a balance that’s owed, you can have a link for payment online. People don’t have to make the phone call and collect the credit card number. It’s already on file. They charge that and you have the ability to create QR codes so a patient can pay online. What’s cool that I’ve seen more personally is being able to pay via text. All those options are available now. I don’t know if all owners are aware of that.
That goes back to the patient experience. It also goes back to increasing that revenue for the office. What’s great about it is you tie all those things together, and we use the technology tools that we provide to the office to do those things. It’s so simple. When you take those tools and we integrate them into the practice software, it makes it easy. What’s great about it is that we can integrate it with any practice software, whether it be WebPT systems for you, whatever the case may be. That’s the beauty about it.
Before we get into it quick, is the website, RectangleHealth.com?
People can check it out. We wanted to cover five things. You at least listed these and shared with me five things that are beneficial to having a digital payment system associated with your practice and linked up to your EMR. Let’s go through these five things. I’ll let you head it up.
As we said, we work with PTs throughout the country. When we talk to PT owners, some of the things that we like to avoid, and you can chime in as you feel we talk about these, and one of the biggest things is no-shows. Some of the things that we’ve learned throughout the times that we talked to PT owners is the numerous times you see the patients. It can be anywhere from 2 to 3 times a week. When that happens, you do get these no-shows. One of the things that’s important is to avoid the no-shows.
It’s nice to have a card on file. Some of the things that PT owners tell me is they don’t have the means to have a card on file in a secure fashion. It’s nice to have a way to, one, have it in a secured fashion where it’s encrypted and maybe have a policy, and to possibly go ahead and charge the patient for that visit if they have a no-show. I’m not saying that you have to do this, but it’s nice to have that option. They might have a legitimate excuse for the patient not to show, and you can be lenient about it.
If you have the policy and there are no teeth to it, that’s hard, so why bother having the policy. Some people have a no-show cancellation fee, which is what we’re talking about and how to charge that, but how to collect that, if you’re going to take the time to have to call them, “We’re going to charge you, by the way, what’s your credit card number?” It’s two months before you ask that question. You could say, “We have to charge you. We have this policy in place.” Having that conversation is important, but this makes it easier to have some teeth.
How many times do you see it as a consumer and as a patient? We go into an office and see that these policies are enforced, but they never take your card. It’s one of those things, “I’m not going to show how are they going to charge me.” When you have this card on file, it’s a little bit more serious most times. It’s nice to have the system in place when you can. It’s one of those topics that we see as consultants out there.
The second one is that you’ve mentioned reducing costs by utilizing digital payment technology and what’s available to you. Tell me a little bit about your thinking there. I have an idea, but tell me what you’re thinking about how digital payment technologies help reduce costs.
The pandemic that happened opened up our eyes to so many things where everyone went digital. Our loved elderly patients coped with and learned very quickly how to use digital technology. They learned how to scan a menu. They literally scan the QR codes and how to pull up a menu. My parents are 65-plus of age. When they’re going to dinner, they scan the QR code to pull up the menu. That’s where digital technology is.
We came out and saw QR codes being used for making payments. Statements are being sent with a QR code on there. When we say digital technology, what we’re seeing is no more papers being sent. Statements are being reduced. If they are being sent, they’re being sent with a QR code or via text. Some offices are going completely text-to-pay. Some officers are going hybrid. Maybe they’re reducing the number of statements that are going out.
Some offices are saying, “No, my patients don’t like to see the statement.” They’re putting, “No big deal.” We have an option for you as well, or they’re putting a QR code on the statement. What that does is they’re making it easier for that patient to make that statement. Even with that statement, they have to go figure out how to make that payment.
You don’t want to have them call and say, “Here’s my credit number.” It’s always sketchy to write down the credit card number and mail that back in. Let’s do it quickest, easiest and fastest way to get the money in. It’s going to mean more money to you.Avoid the no-shows by having a credit card on file in a secured fashion. Click To Tweet
You come up with a great point. For example, a lot of people are working from home these days, or they’re working in general, but think about office hours when they’re trying to call an office. You’re working from 9:00 to 5:00 and maybe your office is busy from 9:00 to 5:00. It’s hard to sometimes even call an office to make a payment. When you have this QR code or even a text-to-pay option, you can make that payment whenever you want, after hours, whatever.
The other great thing when we come to digital payments is a link on your website. Having a payment option on the website and so when we call the office and if we’re trying to make a payment, the message at the very end can simply say, “If you’re trying to make a payment, our office has it. Go to our website.” It’s another track that we’re seeing as we’re being consulting with offices or hearing some pain points. When we speak to these offices, that’s the feedback we’re getting. That’s the solution that we’re providing. It’s a great concept or feedback that we get and for patients to be able to pay.
Keeping Your AR At A Minimum
I appreciate it too. As a consumer myself, I love the option to do everything online because my credit card number is usually saved online with whatever browser I’m using at the time. It’s easy to plug and play. It makes things so much easier. It ties into number four. We’re jumping from 2 to 4 here but keeping your AR at a minimum because of staffing. If your front desk doesn’t have to take the card, collect the copay, and print out the receipt, they can focus on more productive things.
Another issue that many offices are having is staffing issues. Let’s say you did get through the office to make a payment. You’ve got to take another step. Because you know that patient is going to ask for a receipt, you’ve got to figure out how to send them the receipt, scan it, mail it, whatever the case may be. When you make the payment yourself digitally, that receipt is automated on your phone or it’s sent to you via email because that’s the way the system is set up. The patient gets that receipt auto-generated. That’s the world is now.
To continue on with the point number four that we see is, let’s say, they were able to get through the office. They’re asking to make a payment over the phone. We’ve seen that offices are not taking the payment over the phone anymore. They’re putting the onus on the patient and saying, “I’ve got two patients in front of me. I’ve got the doctor in the background. Can you please go on our website? What’s your date of birth? What’s your full name? I will text you a link for you to make a payment.”
When they get a few minutes, they go ahead and text them the link to make a payment. Because what’s happening, which is going to be our next point, is the security of that payment. When that patient makes the payment, their auto gets that receipt, but they’re making the payment themselves, and the office manager or the staff member is not inputting that card. It’s more of a secure payment.
You’re eliminating the middleman.
It’s less of a security issue because that payment is coming from their own IP address or device rather than another device from another location.
Something that speaks to me when I get those more up-to-date technological balances or bills is that it makes me think, “This company has their crap together.” They’re not relying on pen and paper anymore. Phoning in a credit card number is secure. These guys are serious. They’re not stuck in the ‘90s.
PCI Compliance, Security, And Disputing Charges
This goes to probably our point number three. You talk about PCI compliance, security, and what we call disputing charges. If I call you, I’m giving you my card and taking my payment over the phone, and two days later, I call and dispute a charge. I can simply say, “No, I never called that office. I never made that payment.” In a normal credit card world, I can dispute that charge all day long.
In the world where if you bounce that back to me and say, “I’m going to text you a link for you to make that payment and put the payment in myself, it’s recorded in a whole different fashion. I’m making the payment from my phone, so the IP address and all those things behind it are completely different. It’s PCI and the way that payment is made and a receipt is given is completely different fashion. As far as chargebacks and things like that are concerned are looked at differently as well.
Does it require maybe an additional piece of new patient paperwork for them to say, “Yes, it’s okay for me to have a card on file with you?” Is that pretty easy standard paperwork?
To answer your question, yes.
Rectangle Health probably has that document available.
Absolutely and other companies should as well. Offices can draw something up for sure. It can be generated. Rectangle Health has what we call an intake form that’s generated, which can be given to a new patient through our practice management bridge. Through the practice management bridge, it can be texted through the portal to the patient, where they fill out some intake-type questions and a demographic-type questionnaire.
At the very end, they can put their card on file as an authorization to keep it on file. It can also be done in the office if they don’t fill out that form. There are legal ways and legal implications to keep that card on file, but it has to be done in an encrypted PCI compliance fashion.
Card On File
Going to point number five, it’s easily understandable for those who are reading and PT owners that having this technology can definitely help the flow, not just in the office but in the overall AR aging process.
That’s one of the biggest points that I’ve learned working with a lot of the PT owners. We work with a lot of physical offices and individual owners as well. Because you guys see these patients so frequently when they come in, it’s done by vanity code. A lot of times, the practice EMR generates a chart number. They basically use that chart number as their vanity code. What happens is when they come in, they’re like, “Sachin, it’s nice to meet you.” Pull up their vanity code and charge their copay. When the patient comes back, they’re coming in their gym shorts, and they want to have their keys in their pocket.
Kids come in often. Their parents are dropping them off but they don’t have their credit cards with them.
Grandparents are bringing their kids or maybe the parents left their card on file. A lot of the same things happen in the medical or dental vertical, the same concept. That’s huge for you. It’s a very easy way for the patients and the practice as well. It’s a nice thing to have and it’s nice from the billing standpoint. On the cards on file, you can also do this.When you have this QR code or even a text-to-pay option, you can make that payment whenever you want. Click To Tweet
Let’s say on the very first visit, you do your eligibility process, and you come up with $75. The $75 is a threshold. This is very important because it reduces the statements going out, phone calls, and whatever balances and things like that. With the threshold of $75, you can authorize to go ahead and charge any balance under $75 that the insurance doesn’t cover. Now, you don’t even have to send the text.
You set that up at the initial evaluation that if there’s ever a balance that’s less than $100, it will automatically charge.
That’s a number, and that’s what you and the office staff come up with. I don’t know all the insurances, but you can also decide according to the insurance depending on what the insurance is paying and how they pay. You can cater to that accordingly. The system will allow you to do that as well. You can also non-insurance. When you keep a card on file, I know we don’t have a point for this, but it ties in with this. You can also do stuff like payment plans.
What I hear from PT owners are patients who have remaining balances and things like that. You can also do payment plans and stuff. It’s nice because you have these payment plan options that PT owners would like to do with their patients because of balances that are leftover, but they also like to do wellness membership plans.
It’s like a gym membership, which is completely different from the balances owed. I still owe $500 and I’m done with therapy. I got to pay off $50, maybe $100 a month, but I want to come in and do a Wellness Membership Plan with you. You have the option to do this. It’s like a gym membership of $29.95 a month to come to therapy for however long I want and end it whenever I want.
What I like about the payment plan option is the scenario, especially at the beginning of the year, January and February. Especially since deductibles are getting higher, there’s going to be a $2,000 deductible that inevitably hasn’t been met. If they’re not cool with that fact, you can offer a payment plan solution.
If it’s okay with you, we’ll keep your card on file and simply charge you $250 or $200 a month until your deductible is met and set it up like that. Whereas the record-keeping and the follow-up required in the past to do that would be burdensome. You wouldn’t even present that option in the past simply because it was burdensome to have that automatically done.
I’m sure you can put a cap when they reach a certain amount that will stop drawing that automatic payment. Establishing that upfront makes the transaction much smoother but also gives the patient more confidence that, “I’m covered. I can handle $250 a month, and I can get my healthcare met at the same time.”
We came up with a plan, which was going to be launched hopefully in July 2022. It’s going to be called Care Now Pay Later. What that’s going to be in the PT world, and the different verticals as well, is the Patient Finance Program. It allows the patient to get financed for care and physical therapy for something like CareCredit, depending on their credit. Whether bad credit or good credit, it doesn’t matter. Everyone gets approved. If the loan gets defaulted or whatnot, there’ll be no recourse to the practice owner. There are still more details to come. That’s the next program that will be available under our belt.
We covered the five things that make digital payment options like yours at Rectangle Health beneficial for PT owners. Is there anything else you want to cover?
No, unless you have any questions that we didn’t cover. I know you’ve been using Rectangle Health for a while now, and I think you’ve been a good advocate for it.
It makes things much smoother and simpler. There’s a learning curve, but outside of that, it works well. If people want to get in touch with you, how did they do that?
You could give me a call on my direct line at (904) 536-6787. My email is SBhatt@RectangleHealth.com. I can also share it on your page there.
Thanks for taking the time to share that with us.
Thank you for having me. I really appreciate this.
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