Help Your Bottom Line: Focus on Your Revenue Cycle
Secure and consistent revenue is integral to any successful medical practice’s bottom line. Sometimes physicians lose track of what is actually going on in their business operations. When you aren’t paying attention to the financials, your profitability may tank regardless of how well you address patient needs and concerns.
Best practice for your practice
There are several ways you can stay on top of your business processes. For starters, you can meet regularly with your staff to review reports, have financial key performance indicators and benchmark results against other practices.
In addition, compare what is happening this year to what happened last year. Audit patient charts regularly and look at ten charts a month (per provider) to ensure they are entered appropriately. You also may want to hire a professional billing service to occasionally spend a day auditing your charts and receivables.
Here are some other best practices to consider implementing for revenue cycle management:
- Collect at the Time of Service
If a patient owes a co-pay, collect it up front. Create processes and procedures that make it easy to collect fees owed, including accepting cash, checks and credit cards. You can and should make exceptions in some circumstances, but the bottom line is that a medical practice is a business. Make every effort to ensure no one leaves the office without paying what is owed — whether it is a bill or a co-pay.
- Educate Patients on Estimated Expenses
When discussing an expensive and complicated procedure, such as a surgery, develop a financial agreement ahead of time so that you can educate the patient on how much they can expect to pay out-of-pocket beyond what insurance covers. Put it in writing and make sure the patient agrees to it by signing it. Both the practice and the patient should receive a copy.
- Know the Ins and Outs of Your Practice Management Software
Practice management systems are remarkably reliable, but they are not 100% automated and require human direction and intervention. It is imperative that you understand what your practice management system is actually doing. Sometimes, practice management software features can cause undetected issues. For example, one type of software required someone to hit “print claim” after a transaction was saved. The claim was then sent electronically. But, if staff failed to hit the “print claim” button, the claim was not sent. Instead, it showed up as an outstanding balance, even though the insurance company had never received it. Staff need to be trained in the correct use of your practice management software. Many software companies offer free webinars.
- Expand Your Services
Offer medically appropriate services that could bring in additional revenue. If a patient comes in with a specific ailment, this is a potential opportunity to offer a more thorough checkup, resulting in more targeted services and care. In addition to creating better results and more comprehensive care for the patient, it will generate more revenue.
- Follow Up with Insurers Often
As most physicians know, filing an insurance claim and getting exactly what you expect to receive is rare. Update your insurer contracts on a regular basis. Review your price lists and send them to insurance companies. From time to time, insurance carriers change their reimbursements and, even more rarely, increase their reimbursements. Appeal claims and get to know your state Medicare liaison. Join your state’s specialty medical association to pool resources when dealing with insurers.
By engaging in good business practices, you can also avoid serious issues such as employee fraud, unnecessary revenue leaks or even patient attrition. Understanding the financial ins and outs will free you as a physician to focus on what you do best — providing the best possible care to your patients. Consult your financial expert for advice on how to ensure that your practice stays financially healthy.
For more information, contact Jason Flahive at [email protected] or 312.670.7444. Visit ORBA.com to learn more about our Health Care Group.