According to an article published last week by Cristy Good at MGMA, "half of practices saw days in A/R increase in 2021."
MGMA’s most recent stat poll, indicated the majority (49%) of medical practice leaders said days in A/R increased in 2021, compared to 15% who reported a decrease, and another 37% who said they stayed the same. (MGMA conducted the poll on November 9th, 2021, and had 587 responses.) Practices know that the longer a medical bill goes unpaid, the harder it is to collect. Debt.com and Forbes found that half of Americans carry some medical debt (57% owing at least $1,000).
Check out Cristy Good's article, Not-so-graceful aging: Half of practices saw days in A/R increase in 2021, for more information and a deeper explanation of all findings and recommendations.
Practices noted a few key points in the survey that added to the increase in A/R days:
- Limited office staff to work outstanding balances
- New workers face major learning curves
- Many practice leaders blamed payers for questionable denials and delays in reviewing appeals (An Aug. 24 MGMA Stat poll found 54% of medical practices reported that credentialing-related denials increased in 2021.)
Medical practices continue to experience burden by prior authorizations. (May 18 MGMA Stat poll found 81% of medical practices experienced an increase in payer prior authorization requirements in 2021.)
Managing Days in A/R
MGMA's calculation of days in A/R is calculated by dividing the total A/R amount by the practice’s average daily charges and is usually classified by age (the time since the patient or insurance company received billing). A/R is placed in “aging buckets” of 0 to 30 days, 31 to 60 days, 61 to 90 days, 91 to 120 days and 121+ days. According to the 2021 MGMA DataDive Cost and Revenue, the median for total A/R over 120 days in multi-specialty practices is 13.54%.
Cristy has several recommendations for creating a solid revenue cycle process including:
- Set billing guidelines and a process to collect balances due
- Establish a process for past-due accounts
- Patient communication is vital (especially if they need help to understand the portion of the bill they handle or deductibles)
- Provide payment options to help reduce bad debt and prevent debt from being sent to collections
- Run A/R reports regularly and work denials immediately
- Coding is vital for every billable aspect of your RCM process
- Staff need to be coding experts, and they should educate providers as needed
- Providers should close encounters the same day (not any longer than 72 hours after a visit)
- To learn more about Revele's expert end-to-end RCM solution, click HERE.
Check out Cristy's article for more information regarding the MGMA poll on increased days in A/R, a complete list of key items for effective A/R and improved cash flow, and more.
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