If billing and collections are the lifeblood of a profitable medical practice, it appears some providers may have their metaphorical arteries clogged. A recent report from CareCloud and QuantiaMD found billing and collections processes as the areas most commonly targeted by physicians when trying to improve operational performance.
But what’s the best route to take when looking for more efficient billing and collections processes that will enhance your revenue cycle? Luckily, there are multiple options.
Adopt practice management software
Think about all of the effort that goes into filing a paper claim. The claims form must be filled out, reviewed multiple times for errors and sent to the payer. If the claim is denied, the process restarts itself.
Quality practice management software simplifies the process. For one, claims are filled out and submitted electronically, eliminating paper and delivery costs. Practice management (PM) software reviews claims automatically so they can transition smoothly toward submittal rather than being bogged down by multiple error checks.
Collect copays on the spot
According to Nancy White, associate director of the American Physical Therapy Association, the chance of collecting copay from a patient drops almost 20 percent as soon as the patient walks out of the office. Not only that, but when patients leave the office without forfeiting their copay, valuable time and money must be spent on sending them reminders and bills.
One simple way to enhance your chances of collecting copays before your patients leave lies in how you ask for payment. Instead of asking whether they’d like to pay today, ask patients how they want to do so. By not presenting the option of delayed payment, they are more likely to pay immediately -- and you won't experience delays in your revenue cycle.
Outsource medical billing
Outsourcing medical billing functions eliminates inefficiencies by subcontracting the collections process. Instead of tasking your staff with creating and filing claims, have another party handle paperwork.
Before outsourcing, though, research multiple companies and choose the best solution. Don’t put your revenue cycle in the hands of a company that doesn’t pay in full or 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 United States is $33,812. Therefore, hiring two or more billers could cost you more than $60,000 -- and that’s only one function of practice management.
Inexperienced clerks are often more trouble than they’re worth, too. These employees need more training than their more experienced counterparts, meaning you spend more money and time on training, shifting your focus away from day-to-day billing duties for weeks.
Not to mention, it’s safe to assume an inexperienced biller will commit more errors than a veteran peer, resulting in costly resubmittals and possible underpays.
Remember that efficient billing and collections can be the difference between profitability and financial losses. So consider all of your options until you find one that will help you operate your revenue cycle at peak efficiency.
Want more information that will help you boost your bottom line? Click here to find out how PM and EHR technology can help you do it.
Salvador Lopez is a CareCloud content writer focusing on practice marketing, practice management, patient treatment and practice workflow. His work can be found on PowerYourPractice and the CareCloud blog. Follow him on Twitter: @SalvadorPYP.
Photo used with permission from Shuttershock.com.