Do high account receivables plague your practice’s cash flows? Let’s face it, the COVID-19 crisis has led everyone, including patients, to hold on to their money tightly. As COVID-19 pandemic transforms patients’ needs and their ability to pay for healthcare, DME’s must adopt a more effective, patient-friendly medical billing options.
The need for strategies to boost A/R has never been greater as DMEs themselves face financial challenges. Medical practices are under immense pressure to maintain healthy cash flow and meet operating expenses. Unfortunately, many medical practices are leaving money on the table due to inefficient A/R management.
According to a new report, a majority of medical practices (54%) say that 10% of their accounts go to bad debts, while 56% of practices surveyed said debt recovery could take three months or longer.
Cash flow lost to bad debt could have been used for value-based care, new technology, and office improvements. Days in A/R should preferably be 30 to 40 days on average.
Review the five ways to improve AR for your medical practice in 2020.
1) Streamline pre-authorization process
A critical part of improving A/R is to start early and not treat A/R as an afterthought. Start the process early by verifying the patient’s insurance eligibility, benefits, and coverage upfront, ahead of time. It is equally important to verify the demographic information like address and contact details on the file prior to each visit. This ensures accurate and timely submission of information on patient’s coverage to help cut down on claim denials and delays.
2) Run A/R reports and follow up with your patients
Running A/R aging reports from the date of service helps you track the progress of overdue payments without much hassle. Send A/R reports to your patients and follow up with a phone call for A/R billed over 90 days from the date of service. Generating A/R aging reports by hands can be time-consuming. However, there are medical practice solutions that instantly provide a detailed and up-to-date review of your A/R status. Consider sending the monthly A/R report to each patient in the first week of the month. However, since the COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the economy and as more people file for unemployment, it raises the question of how patients can pay for care. Therefore, DMEs must implement patient-friendly billing options to fit the current climate as well as train and educate staff on soft skills and patient financial assistance policies to provide financial advocacy to patients to help them pay their medical bills.
3) Review your billing cycle
The shorter your billing cycle, the faster the speed by which you receive payments. Consider reducing the collection cycle by sending bills to patients or insurers weekly rather than monthly. However, in these unprecedented times of public health crisis, DME’s must follow patient-friendly medical billing. One way is to adapt and choose patient-friendly medical billing collection strategies and automate revenue cycle management as much as possible, to streamline bill approval and payment processes.
4) Examine that claims are correct
Before submitting a claim, review them for accuracy and completeness. Double-check that all the codes regarding bill treatment and procedures match the authorized codes. Errors such as duplicate entries, improper coding, and transcription errors are among the most common reasons why claims get rejected. Ensuring invoices are accurate can save your practice a significant amount of money. Similarly, consider addressing denied claims within a week of receiving notice. Contact the payer immediately to investigate and determine why the claim was denied so you can appeal quickly and get paid.
5) Outsource billing
Hire a medical billing company to take alleviate stress and make managing A/R easy and hassle-free. Outsourced billing companies have vetted teams who are more likely regularly follow up with claim denials and improve the revenue cycle of your HME/ DME.
Together with compassion, value-based care, and better A/R management, DMEs can weather the storm. Having a vetted medical billing partner who can help you streamline and optimize revenue cycle management will be the key to a more efficient and patient-friendly medical billing in the post-COVID-19 world.
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