Medical Lockbox Services, Not All Providers are Created Equal

Working with a financial institution for healthcare payment processing via a medical lockbox is an excellent method to eliminate inefficient in-house manual processes for healthcare providers. Providers can typically reduce overhead, improve collections in receivables, decrease bad debt/write-offs, reduce fraud and eliminate paper in the office. While the benefits can be impressive, selecting the right vendor can often be a confusing task. 

While the basic concept of a lockbox does commoditize the service, a medical lockbox service via a financial institution can easily be differentiated by the following important features:

  1. How does the provider or billing company receive lockbox contents? Are the original checks and explanation of benefits (EOB) returned to the provider via paper, copied or provided via an online electronic archive?
  2. Are you given access to an electronic record of claims and payments with the ability to audit and reconcile the two?
  3. How long are documents archived and available for retrieval or viewing? Does this meet you records retention requirements by state law?
  4. Does your service also report on electronic funds transfer (EFTs) that are deposited into your bank account? What is the method of notification.
  5. What is the expected turnaround time for each day’s lockbox contents? 24 hours, 48 hours, Saturday processing, etc.
  6. Does the financial institution provide a solution for documents that do not come through the lockbox? Can you scan EOB’s and upload them while the P.O. Box transition is in process or if the piece came to another address?
  7. Does the bank offer interest on the funds in your lockbox account?
  8. For patient payments, can the bank create a daily data file that contains the patient account number and the payment amount for each transaction to be electronically processed into your software system, eliminating the need to rekeying the payments?
  9. Is the solution Cloud-based? What is their disaster recovery procedures? Is the service HIPAA compliant?
  10. What fees are standard for the lockbox service and which are additional expenses?

Understanding the options available is an important first step to selecting a vendor that best fits your practice’s needs. If you need additional help in determining which vendor is best, ask for references and further demonstrations. Selecting a new vendor takes time but, in the end, thorough examination of all available options will help to maximize value from your medical lockbox provider.

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