No business can survive long without income. Healthcare practices are no different and have heightened revenue risk due to the complexity and variations of different payers. There are several ways a healthcare practice can maximize collections and minimize the amount of time and money lost to non-payment or delayed payments. Collecting what’s owed starts before the patient even walks out the door.
When you delay collecting the copay or full payment immediately, the chances of collection drop substantially. Even if you do manage to collect the payment later, you must waste time and resources sending bills to the patient and performing follow-up processes. Your best chance of getting the payment is before the patient leaves the office.
When you file a paper claim, the form must be filled out, checked for errors and sent to the payer. Once sent, the practice must wait to see if you get paid. If the payer denies the claim, you have to start over from the beginning.
Practice management software makes it faster and easier to file paperwork and claims. The software automatically checks for common errors, and allows you to file and check the status of the claim electronically. This minimizes the wait, reduces waste and eliminates delivery costs. Practice management software can interface with your accounting software, making it easier to keep track of profit and loss and recognize income patterns.
Doing your own billing wastes time and money you could be using for seeing more patients and growing your practice. Most practitioners delegate their billing to staff or external professionals.
If you decide to hire billing staff, according to salary.com, the median expected salary for a medical billing clerk as of July 2013 is $33, 854. If you hire inexperienced clerks, you must factor in extra time and costs for training and error checking. Then hope they stick around long enough to make it all worthwhile. Most practices staff at least two trained billing clerks, so they have the necessary backup when one clerk is out or one of the positions is open.
Outsourcing your billing can save time and personnel costs by assigning most claims-related and collections tasks to an external professional medical billing company. If you decide to go this route, make sure you hire a company that is experienced with billing and collections for medical practices. Get recommendations from practitioners in your field, and follow up on any references the billing company provides. The last thing you need is to assign your billing duties to a company that wastes time with resubmits, wastes money by collecting underpayments from the payer, or does not pay your practice in a timely manner.
By collecting the copay or payment immediately, using practice management software and selecting the right billing process, your practice can minimize the amount of lost time and money and keep a healthy flow of income.
ZH Healthcare offers a comprehensive 24X7 billing solution of proven experience combined with our advanced technology platform that will reduce your expenses, increase your collections and improve your cash flow.