Handling NSF Checks

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Receiving a non-sufficient funds (NSF) check is simply something out of any organization’s control unless you decide that you will not accept them at all. However, there are still a large amount of people that write personal checks to pay their medical bills. There may not be a way to stop it from occurring but there are ways to minimize the number of occurrences.  Being proactive by having a policy in place can go a long way in addressing this issue if it were to happen.

Preventing NSF Checks

Having a well-developed financial policy can aid in minimizing the number of NSF checks your facility receives. In a medical office, if you have a streamlined upfront collection policy, most of your patient’s know ahead of time of their financial responsibility which makes them better prepared to make payment.

When patients are put on the spot to make a payment, they don’t have a chance to check their bank account to make sure there are sufficient funds available. Also, making the patient aware ahead of time allows provides them with ample time to manage their finances in preparation for their upcoming visit, reschedule their appointment for another day that is more convenient or make payment arrangements, if necessary.  

When it happens

So you have taken all the precautions to prevent an NSF check and one still slips through, you still have options. Indicate in your policy whether you will continue to accept checks from patients that have a history of writing bad checks.

 This could mean the medical office will refuse to accept checks from patients with one NSF check or no more than two if they quickly noticed their mistake and made a cash payment immediately.

Hopefully, this will resolve the NSF check ordeal. If not, further steps can be taken.

  1. Call the patient. Most likely the patient will know before you do that they have a bounced check. You are not by any means telling them something they don’t know. Politely request that they resolve the matter as soon as possible. Offer to waive the NSF fee if they make payment within 5 days.
  1. Send a certified letter. Remind the patient that they are a valued customer and you would like them to resolve the matter without further incident. Be sure not to threaten the patient in any way.
  2. Contact the bank. If attempts to contact the patient are unsuccessful, wait a few days and contact the bank to find out if there is enough money to cover the check. If so, return the check to the bank and have it cashed versus depositing it in your account.
  3. Forward the account to a collection agency.
  4. File the claim with small claims court.

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