Tied with ensuring the best possible service for their patients, practices are concerned with receiving payment for those services. With patient due amounts now accounting for 30 percent of practice incomes, effective collection efforts are vital to a practice's financial performance.
Here at PracticeForces, we know how challenging this can be. In our previous article on Managing Accounts Receivable, we introduced some key concepts for practices to incorporate into their operating procedures.
Here are some of the key points from that article:
- Accept self-pay options, such as credit and debit cards.
- Co-pays and deductibles must be collected when the patient checks in.
- Obtain and verify patient insurance information at time of visit.
- Have physicians thoroughly document patient visits so accurate charges can be submitted.
- Submit claims in a timely manner.
- Follow up on unpaid claims.
We have seen, through the incorporation of these key concepts, dramatic improvement to the bottom line and efficiency of the practices we serve. For example, this recent half-yearly analysis of our services for an established primary care and geriatrics practice shows that, after taking over from their previous billers, in just over 6 months we achieved a 158% payment increase, and significantly reduced their outstanding A/R.
So today we publish this article as a continuation of our brief series on managing accounts receivable, utilizing effective billing processes to maximize revenue, and avoiding fraud in the practice.
Monitoring cash flow and effective billing procedures
The first step is establishing an effective billing system. Second, timely collection is the key. These processes will improve cash flow and generate income, which can be utilized for investments and operating revenue.
Tips to improve cash flow:
- Collect payment at the time of service.
- Set convenient dates for vendor payment.
- Pay bills at the end of the discount period.
- Identifying how you obtain payment from insurance payers.
Here are some benefits to submitting claims electronically:
- Ability to correct and edit claims prior to submission.
- Electronically generated reports.
- Reduction to the number of bill resubmissions.
- Overall reduction to bill processing costs.
It's also important to track total billing amounts per payer. This information will allow you to monitor your payer activity and determine payer trends. We can educate your practice on how to obtain this information, what tools to use, and the frequency.
To stay on top of your cash flow and billing procedures, make sure you collect due amounts in a timely manner and process your billing electronically. Statistics show that when you follow these steps you are able to save money and increase collections.
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