For many healthcare practice owners, creating and maintaining a healthy revenue cycle is a major challenge. Balancing insurance billing and managing patient responsibility can be as stressful for staff as it is for payers–but it doesn’t have to be. Here are the steps you can take to set your practice up for success within the first 30 days of your revenue cycle:
- Streamline patient intake and data collection.
First, ensure that all patient documentation has proper TCPA disclosures, and captures contact details like email addresses, cell, home, and work phone numbers, and place of employment. Completing all customer information and procedure consent before their procedure will make admittance easier and set internal or third-party accounts receivable partners up for success, should they be required.
- Establish a system for estimating patient responsibility.
While many patients use insurance for their procedures, most will have out-of-pocket costs as well. Providing an estimate of financial responsibility before a procedure will help reduce patients’ pre-procedure anxiety. It will also help set you up to have a productive conversation about how they will pay for their portion.
- Ask for a full or down payment before the procedure.
Requiring upfront payment rapidly expedites the revenue cycle and eliminates additional administrative costs in tracking down outstanding balances once the procedure has been completed. This also creates an opportunity for you to discuss payment options and resources available to help your patients get the care they need.
- Hone your billing process.
If your practice prefers not to take payment at the time of service, you should be swift and diligent in billing patients after their procedures. Send the bill as soon as possible, utilizing an electronic system if possible. Set a regular cadence for communication, either through letters or e-statements, until the bill is paid. From an insurance perspective, be sure to review any denied claims so that you can improve your internal processes of charge capture, utilization review, and coding. Clean claims get paid out sooner, and streamlining your billing system can mean faster and more complete payouts for your practice.
- Find the right partner.
There are a variety of partners you can work with to optimize your practice’s revenue cycle, but it’s important not to forget your accounts receivable solutions provider. Consider engaging with an agency that can provide first-party accounts receivable services, working under your name to recover revenue before accounts become delinquent. The sooner you connect with patients regarding their payment, the better your chances of recovery. If your staff doesn’t have the bandwidth to be as vigilant in pursuing accounts at the early stage in the billing cycle, your AR partner should be able to provide the support you need.
Finding the right combination of outside support for your revenue cycle means more income for your practice, and more time for you and your staff to do what you do best: care for your patients.