There are many aspects of running a successful medical practice. Accounts receivable (A/R) management is a key responsibility in ensuring profitability and maximizing your collection efforts. The best way to achieve these goals is to adopt practices that will streamline A/R management.
Developing an efficient A/R process will ensure your practice is financially sound and able to take advantage of cash flow when it’s available. Here are three tips for making sure that happens:
1. Verify data. Accuracy is crucial in order to ensure money is flowing into your practice. You’ll need to obtain and verify current insurance information for your patients and make updates to reflect any changes in coverage. It’s equally important to properly code patient visits and make sure all information is entered into your billing systems correctly, billing insurance based on that information and posting/adjusting the insurance payment in a timely manner. After you know which items are excluded from coverage, attempt to collect money from the patient. It’s a time-consuming practice, but better to have all your ducks lined up in a row before starting.
2. Let patients know about their obligations. Patients aren’t always aware of what their responsibility is when it comes to insurance claims, but not making their obligations clear from the start can result in a lot of wasted time trying to track down money they owe. Make it a point to let your patients know what their payment responsibilities are and have them sign an agreement spelling out the information. This will prevent surprises and/or excuses when it comes time to collect the money you are owed.
3. Monitor and manage your payers. Just as important is making sure your payers are reimbursing you in a timely manner. Don’t just track payments; keep abreast of denials, too. Trends can help you determine the reason for claim denials (incomplete or incorrect information from your practice, slow payment from the insurer, technical glitches, etc.). It’s up to your A/R staff to identify any problems holding up payments and correct them ASAP. No practice can afford to be slow in processing/collecting claims or have money held up elsewhere. To protect against this, make sure you adopt a clear and consistent payment policy, make sure you have an easily-navigable patient portal, and make sure your statements are easy to read and understand.