All providers who enter the medical field generally do so to meet a common goal, providing good care to their patients. With this goal in mind it is often conflicting to set a price to the care provided. It is even more challenging to make financial decisions that can impact your patients directly or indirectly. Ultimately physician and provider owners of medical practices must face this dilemma and be successful with their choices to stay in business. MBA HealthGroup can provide practices with many ways to access the financial health and well being of the practice in a practice evaluation. There are some important elements that can be easily implemented to ensure the practice enjoys good practice financial health. Although these suggestions cannot single handedly solve financial challenges, if implemented they will create solid footing from which a practice can thrive and grow.
Tips for optimizing your medical practice financials:
1. Payment at the time of service
Collecting co-pays and any cash payments before the visit ensures some form of collection is happening. People expect to pay when they visit a provider office, however they usually will not offer it unless requested. Front desk staff training is crucial in the successful collection of these revenues. If collected at the front desk, preferably during check in, (or check out for services or medical equipment) money is also saved in mailing statements and back end collections.
2. Timely charge and payment entry
Entering charges the day of service is ideal, however if they are delayed by even a few days the payment cycle can be impacted and financial analysis skewed. Delay in payment entry creates loss of revenue because additional statements may be sent to patients, or time lost in follow up calls to insurance companies.
3. Regular fee analysis and updates
Insurance companies change their rates annually, fees charged by the practice should be formally assessed on a regular basis, as well as during the payment entry process. If a payment by an insurance company matches the charged amount this indicated the charge is too low and potential dollars are lost from other payers who have a better rate.
4. Timely payment plans and follow up
Patients who want to work with you to pay in good faith are patients who will return in the future and efforts should be made to create a workable solution. Although the collections process is always an option for uncollected balances, it is always best to work with patients as much as possible. It is recommended that all payment plans are limited to 6 months and appropriate follow up is set in place to track success.
5. Maintained Credentialing
All payments begin and end with appropriate credentialing. Work with your carriers to ensure credentialing is up to date and complete or payments may abruptly stop. It is also essential to remember that any new providers, changes in address , name or tax ID must be updated with credentialing all the carriers to ensure continued payment.
These are just a few simple ways to create improved financial health at your practice so that providers can remain true to their ultimate goal: superior patient care.