Billing and collections are the lifeblood of a profitable medical practice – no surprise there. In fact, a Practice Profitability report from CareCloud and QuantiaMD finds physicians most often target billing and collections processes to improve operational performance.
But what’s the best route toward more efficient revenue cycle management? We’ll look at multiple options to improve your revenue cycle, including:
Adopt Modern Practice Management Software
Efficient practice management software can save money and simplify the claims process. For one, completing and submitting claims electronically eliminates paper and delivery costs. What’s more, practice management software that automatically populates key fields and reviews claims in advance for errors can lead to faster payment and fewer follow-up tasks for your staff.
Collect Copays On the Spot
According to Nancy White, Associate Director of the American Physical Therapy Association, the chance of collecting a copay from a patient drops almost 20% as soon as a patient walks out of your office. Not only that, but your staff must then spend valuable time and money sending patient reminders and follow-up bills.
Here’s a tip: Instead of asking whether they’d like to pay today, ask patients how they want to pay. By not presenting the option of delayed payment, patients are more likely to pay immediately — and less likely to leave you empty-handed in the moment.
Outsource Revenue Cycle Management
Outsourcing medical billing functions to a capable third party can allow you to ease pressure on your internal staff and improve financial results. Instead of tasking your staff with filing claims and following up with payers on denials, a vendor can handle the majority of the paperwork and hassles for these critical revenue cycle steps.
Many practices simply don’t have the time to pursue payment for denials or are so busy that they don’t submit claims in a timely fashion, leading to lost revenue. However, outsourcing can help you avoid sacrificing revenue or slowing down cash flow due to limited resources.
Before outsourcing, though, research multiple companies to find the best solution. Don’t put your revenue cycle management in the hands of a company that doesn’t offer full transparency, earn your trust, and secure your payments in a timely fashion.
Hire Experienced Billers
If you decide to keep your billing processes in-house, keep in mind the median expected salary of a medical billing clerk in the U.S. is $34,683. Therefore, hiring two or more billers could cost you about $70,000 or more per year – and that’s only one function of practice management.
Also, keep in mind that inexperienced billers and collectors may need closer supervision, especially with major industry changes like ICD-10 on the horizon. These employees require significant training, requiring considerable investments of time and money on your part. In addition,
inexperienced billers are more prone to errors, resulting in costly claim resubmissions and possible underpayments over time.
There’s also the risk of a disruption in cash flow down the road if you don’t have the right staff in place during the switch to ICD-10.
Remember that efficient billing and collections can mean the difference between profitability and financial losses. So consider all of your options until you find the right solution to run your revenue cycle at peak efficiency.