5 Medical Billing Tips to Improve Collections

by Applied Medical Systems

A successful and profitable medical practice is not possible without efficient medical billing and collection processes. However, each year it becomes more challenging to collect payment from both patients and insurance companies. This is mainly because of rising documentation requirements and an increasing amount of patients that are responsible for a portion of their medical bill. The team at Applied Medical Systems compiled this list of five medical billing tips to improve your cash flow and ensure that your facility is on its way to optimal financial success. While some of these tips are simple to implement, others may be more time consuming and costly.

1. Collect at the Time of Service

One of the easiest ways to improve your cash flow is to collect as much as possible from each patient at the time of his or her service. The majority of the time, patients understand that they will need to pay a portion of the bill out-of-pocket. As a medical practice, your goal should be to consistently keep the patient informed. You can keep the patient informed by checking patient eligibility prior to each appointment, handling any services that require pre-authorization in advance and setting expectations with each patient by notifying them of the co-pays that are due at the time of service. Posting signs throughout the office letting patients know that payment must be collected upfront will help as well.

2.  Make It Easy to Pay a Remaining Balance

As a medical provider, you should be aware that any money not collected at the time of service will be tough to collect. It’s important to ensure that all statements that patients receive in the mail are clear and easy to read. These statements should be mailed as soon as possible so that the service is fresh in their minds and they are more likely to pay. Online billing should also be an option for patients as it gives them a way to view their bill electronically and pay automatically.

3. Verify That You Are Capturing All Charges

All charges must be documented to make sure that your practice does not miss collecting any payments. Coding should also be reviewed by a coding professional in your office or an outside vendor. In addition, procedures in your facility should be implemented to ensure you are sending claims for every captured charge. Your EHR may be a great resource for ensuring that you are capturing all charges.

4. Work Your Denials

The most time consuming and labor intensive aspect of the revenue cycle is working denials. Physicians and front desk staff should implement a system to improve accuracy and minimize denials. In the event of a denial, you should determine whether or not it could’ve been prevented on the front end. Then, claim edits should be established in your EHR to avoid potential problems prior to sending claims to the payer. Additionally, denials should be taken care of immediately and patients should only be involved when necessary.

5. Analyze Your Reimbursement

You are not finished once you have received payment. Payments for the same service may differ from each patient and you must make sure you are compensated properly for your time and expertise. You can do this by determining your cost per patient that includes the amount you pay for your office rent, front desk staff wages, etc. Next, you should analyze average reimbursement from each payer to find out if you are profiting. If your EHR reporting package is unable to assist you with this, consider a data analytics software or hiring an outside agency to help you out. After this analysis has been completed, payers who are providing you with a low return on investment should be negotiated with or no longer accepted. By taking advantage of the medical billing tips listed above, your medical organization will increase its cash flow and improve its overall efficiency. For support with medical billing and collections, contact Applied Medical Systems today.