Decreasing reimbursement and rising costs aren’t the only factors causing financial problems for medical practices. In most practices, inefficiency can cause significant amount of revenue loss. You might even be surprised at the subtle ways revenue could be leaking from your practice.
Fortunately, most of these problems can be fixed with just a few simple changes. Making these changes (if you haven't already) can create drastic results in your practice operations and cash flow. Here are 5 surprising ways physicians can prevent revenue losses.
1) Schedule Effectively
Does your staff know which patients or visit types go into the right appointment slots? Chances are you have patients who are particularly time consuming, and your staff should be aware of this. At the same time, certain visits, like diabetes check-ups, may not require a full 30-minute time slot. Know the lead times relative to different types of appointments so the physician can interpret the real appointment time.
If you are bringing on a new employee, facilitate communication between the employee and clinical staff so patients can be booked for the right appointment type and length.
2) Consider Dedicating a Person to Pre-Certification Tasks
If you operate a specialty practice, such as an orthopedic or neurology practice, consider dedicating a staff member to pre-certification tasks. With specialty practices, many procedures such as imaging studies require pre-authorization from insurers, and devoting someone to obtaining pre-authorizations and documenting medical necessity and frequency data on studies can prevent non-payment by insurers. If patients bump up against frequency limits, this person can also work with clinicians and patients to determine the best course of action in scheduling.
3) Have a System for Tracking Non-Office Charges
If physicians have non-office patient encounters (at a hospital or nursing home, for example), capturing these charges can be tricky. Hospital inpatient care, observation care, consultation, and surgical procedures may take place, and it's important that your billing team be able to work with personnel in the non-office settings to be able to capture these charges. Hospital computer systems may be able to generate reports of a physician's surgery schedule and associated in-patient services, but billing non-office charges will require monitoring and vigilance.
4) Develop Management Procedures for Third Party Payer Accounts Receivable
Working third party payer accounts receivable can be a full time job in some practices.
Though you may deal with multiple third party payers, it's important that you have procedures and policies in place for working third party accounts receivable. Some practices designate a staff member to work as an accounts receivable liaison with the highest volume payers to keep cash flow moving.
If you use an electronic health records system with robust practice management, like eClinicalWorks EHR, you can create collection management reports to identify possible payment issues and establish collection criteria to prioritize collection activities.
5) Make Sure You Are Maximizing the Efficiency of Patient Encounters
Making patient encounters themselves more efficient can make a huge difference. Stock exam rooms so that you rarely have to leave the exam room to grab supplies. These little interruptions can really add up over the course of a day.
Delegate responsibilities like delivering prescriptions, drug samples, or other items to patients to nurses so that you can move on to the next patient. One way to determine what to delegate is to ask yourself if you would pay another doctor to do the same thing. These small streamlining measures can pack great cumulative results.
Having a powerful EHR to help your practice stay on task and manage processes can make a tremendous positive impact on your efficiency and your collections. eClinicalWorks practice management software eliminates duplicate data entry, reduces errors, and can pull data directly from clinical notes for creating claims. Plus, it has comprehensive patient scheduling and registration features, and clearinghouse connectivity to accelerate processes like pre-certification and eligibility checking.