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Unrecognizable male doctor in white coat with stethoscope using tablet, digital patient support system, test results and data registration
Patients have recently been faced with highly expensive medical bills because of the rise in high deductible plans. In numerous cases, these patients are not prepared to pay them. For medical practices, this means that discovering new ways to improve medical billing collections ought to be the top priority for the year 2018, especially patient payments.

When patients do not pay the required amount, it ultimately puts the revenue cycle of your practice at risk. The patients’ co-pays make up approximately 20% of the entire revenue of a doctor. However, according to a recent study conducted in 2010 by the Medical Group Management Association, most doctors only collect 60% of their patients’ co-pays.

Once doctors realize that their medical billing has taken a hit, they begin to completely understand that they cannot afford any more revenue loss through the ICD-10 coding errors and the Meaningful Use requirements. This rings especially true for those practices which have a very small budget.

The worst part is that this problem is not going anywhere, anytime soon. A large number of patients will either have heftier co-pays for each office visit or they will be forced to spend more out of their pocket due to their choice of the policies, which are accompanied with higher deductibles. The middle class is increasingly becoming burdened by the expenses of healthcare and numerous professionals struggle in order to cover what the employers’ health plan will not.  The bottom line is that it is now time that we pay great importance to collecting patient co-pays.


7 Ways to Improve your Practice’s Medical Billing Collections in 2018

  1. Train Your Staff To Collect The Money

The collections begin with your office’s front desk. Therefore, it is important to have your staff trained to collect the cash, even before the patient gets to see you. Ensure that there are numerous signs placed around the waiting room which clearly state the payment policy. When any member of the staff calls the patient to confirm the appointment, they should also mention the balance amount that the patient might be carrying. Furthermore, the payment options available should be discussed. Your staff should make it clear to patients that they are expected to pay the balance before their next appointment or when they arrive at the office for their next appointment.

  1. Be Transparent About the Prices

One of the major reasons that service providers have a difficult time when it comes to medical bill collections is because the patients are blind sighted by the costs and have also not budgeted for this expense. It is very important that you are always transparent about the prices and the procedure costs so they have a clear idea whether or not they could afford the treatment. Furthermore, check the patient’s coverage before the appointment is confirmed.

  1. Go For Potent Medical Billing Software

If you have yet to purchase a powerful medical billing software, it is advised that you do so today. Half of the uphill battles you are fighting will be solved by this simple, yet amazing, software. Medical billing software can easily help to streamline the entire funds collecting process. This can also help you keep track of all past bills.

  1. Provide Numerous Payment Options

Undoubtedly, there are a lot of patients who would like to pay for their services, however, they do not have the financial means to do so. When you offer various payment options to patients who have huge outstanding bills, they can slowly pay the bills in installments.  It is beneficial to give your patients options.  

  1. Make The Payment Method Easy

If you want most of your patients to pay the bills, it is important that you make the process easy. For example, if you let patients pay using a debit or credit card, the funding you receive is going to increase, as most people prefer paying using their cards. This is a win/win situation, where you get your fee, and the patients have no outstanding bills in their accounts.

  1. Incentives for the Billing Staff

Understand that it is not fun for your staff to collect past due payments every day by calling up patients. It can become very frustrating and tiring. Some of your staff members might also eventually become demotivated as well. Offering incentives and keeping your staff motivated is very important in order to make sure they are completely satisfied with the job they have.

  1. Track and Manage the Results

You will never be able to improve billing conditions if you do not track and manage the results. It is important to make this your habit and priority to review the billing condition each month during the financial meeting in order to see the methods and processes which are working out for you and ones which are not.


Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.

Calculator and stethoscope on financial statement concept for finance health check or cost of healthcare
Following a myriad of financial issues and compliance risks, it has become a necessity to adopt a proactive approach to billing procedures in a medical office and healthcare industry, in general. In an attempt to revamp healthcare industry revenues and reduce patients’ costs, effective billing procedures may be introduced and these will be discussed in the paragraphs that follow.

Collection Process

The initial step towards establishing effective billing procedures in a medical office is to have a collection process. The collection process should start off with the setting of terms and mutual agreements to these. Make sure that the patient is aware of their obligations and debts and keep a reminder for each patient to settle pending obligations. These terms must be agreed upon as part of the initial paperwork.

Moreover, be sure to collect all relevant information from the patient such as address, contact number, email, work location/name of the company and a photo-id. Verify the addresses provided by the patient and make a habit of verifying patient eligibility on each visit to the medical office. An effective billing procedure communicates the various payment options available to all patients, preferably on their initial visit to the medical office. Any and all payment plans must also be introduced to each one prior to taking them on board. Make it a habit to send emails to patients a few days before their payment is due and on the date of payment. Multiple emails may be sent as reminders once the due date has surpassed.

Claims Management

Another effective billing procedure to incorporate is the need to submit accurate and complete claims.  This may be ensured using a detailed review of the data points entered. Possible errors comprise of incorrect patient data, insurance information, duplicate billing, missing denial codes, incomplete documentation, and incorrect provider information. In order to effectively reduce these errors, double check all information to minimize the risk of error.

In addition to this, effective billing requires proper handling of rejected and denied claims. Once all errors have been fixed, the rejected claim may be resubmitted. In case of a denied claim, re-submission is preceded by an appeal. Be sure to have these pointers in mind before processing claims.

Outsource

Effective billing procedures can be costly and despite having proactive procedures, medical office staff may feel overwhelmed by keeping up with a plethora of tasks. These tasks span from staying updated with the current trends in medicine, coding standards, insurance policies, billing regulations all the way to processing denials, rejections, and re-submission of claims. In an attempt to reboot energy and save time and effort, these tasks and procedures can be outsourced. Such outsourcing will allow for greater focus on patients, agile submission of claims and specialized billing experts to process billing related matters in an efficient manner.

Minimize Errors and Improve

Another effective billing procedure is to spot errors and try to minimize these. This must be a consistent process in a medical office in order to ensure revenue maximization and lower costs. Claims include medical codes that may either be incorrect or missing from the claim. A few examples of these errors are non-specific diagnosis codes and incorrect modifiers. The less frequently occurring errors comprise of up-coding and under-coding in the medical language. These errors may be avoided by double checking the claims prior to submission.

In addition to this, another effective billing procedure is called improving and, mind you, this is not a medical term! By improvement, it means new methods should be adopted to ensure constant improvement in billing procedures. These improvement steps include tracking of any and all pending receivables (similar to receivables in bookkeeping), staying up-to-date with the dynamic healthcare procedures and policies related to billing and submission of claims. As a result of these improvements, not only can billing be made more effective, but efficiency is one benefit and revenue maximization for the healthcare industry is yet another.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers


About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts
 Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.