Six suggestions to increase your medical practice’s collections and cash flow
Efficient revenue cycle management encompasses various elements, and one of the critical components is optimizing collections. Failure to address this essential step poses the risk of losing owed funds and a substantial portion of revenue.
Continuing reading to discover ways to enhance cash flow and collections promptly.
CHALLENGES IN MEDICAL BILLING DURING THE PANDEMIC
Even with the resumption of elective surgeries and in-person consultations, many medical practices continue to witness declining patient numbers, impacting their revenue adversely.
Harvard University researchers found that the COVID-19 pandemic led to a nearly 60% drop in patient flow at ambulatory practices from mid-February to early April 2020. Extending the study beyond its initial publication date of April 23 to May 16 showed a slight increase in patient visits, but the overall number remained about 31% below pre-pandemic levels.
Pediatric practices and surgical specialities recorded the most significant relative declines in visits despite the overall improvement in patient traffic.
This decline in patient volume can be attributed, in part, to patients’ reluctance to seek medical care due to COVID-19 fears. A recent survey indicated that 29% of Americans are delaying medical care because of these concerns.
Streamlining your patient billing processes can help maintain cash flow if the pandemic’s financial impact on your practice persists. In such circumstances, outsourcing to a healthcare debt collection agency can effectively manage all patient billing responsibilities.
TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE COLLECTION OF PATIENT BALANCES
Gather patient insurance and contact information before appointments. Front desk staff should acquire complete and up-to-date information when patients schedule appointments. Online options for submitting this information via email or a patient portal can streamline the process.
Verify insurance eligibility and identify outstanding balances. Confirm coverage with payers before or during services, ensuring awareness of their policies. This aids in anticipating potential adjustments to patient collections, expected treatment costs, and financial obligations.
Establish a payment process requiring patient responsibility upon check-in. To boost patient balance collection, institute a payment policy and have patients sign a patient responsibility form during check-in. This ensures clarity for both patients and staff.
Send automated appointment reminders with payment details using your patient messaging system. Alternatively, a healthcare collection agency can manage these tasks more efficiently.
Accept multiple payment methods. Offering various payment options, including cash, credit/debit cards, and checks, increases the likelihood of collecting unpaid balances. An accessible online payment system through your patient portal further simplifies payments.
Offer payment plans and monitor them. Providing flexible payment arrangements for more enormous debts reassures patients that they can afford treatment and increases practice revenue.
Incorporate follow-up into the collections process. Implement a proactive strategy for addressing late payments, including demanding full payment, discussing payment options, and offering payment schedules when necessary.
HOW CAN A MEDICAL BILLING AND COLLECTIONS SERVICE ASSIST?
Various factors, such as value-based treatment initiatives, evolving payer fee schedules, high-deductible health plans, and government regulations, can affect a medical practice’s revenue. Maintaining financial stability amidst these challenges can be complex.
To ensure full-service payment, clinics must manage claim denials, enhance denial management, address underpayments, and track outstanding bills. Many practices collaborate with revenue cycle management experts or third-party healthcare debt collection agencies to increase profitability.
Here are some ways a medical debt collection service can help:
Accurate payment posting: Correct payment posting is crucial to maintaining accounts receivable accuracy. Relying on a medical billing partner to post payments can provide confidence that potential issues will be detected and addressed.
Tracking and reducing Days in A/R: Monitoring Days in A/R is essential to prevent delayed payments and reduce patient receivables write-offs. A healthcare debt collection agency can assist in tracking and improving this key performance indicator.
Reworking medical claims: When a claim is denied or partially paid, a medical billing service can identify reasons for denial, make necessary adjustments, and resubmit claims in compliance with payer requirements.
Decreased turnaround time on claim submissions: A medical billing firm can ensure timely claim submission by managing clearinghouse denials and submitting claims promptly.
Offering best practices training and monthly reports: Sharing expertise through training sessions on eligibility and referral management and providing monthly reports on practice key performance indicators.
Improving cash flow often starts with a partnership. Seeking the assistance of a healthcare debt collection agency can help increase practice revenue and achieve financial goals. Knowledgeable professionals can handle billing and back-office responsibilities, identify denials and rejections, ensure proper claims processing, send patient statements and collection letters, and more.