July 16, 2021
Healthcare providers are under mounting pressure as they have to spend time on both patient care and administrative tasks. While they are seeing more patients in shorter periods of time, dealing with insurance companies and healthcare billing is increasingly more complicated. Many healthcare providers give up and join a conglomerate, but teaming with a revenue cycle management (RCM) partner can help you save time and remain independent. Here are some benefits of doing so.
Billing is one of the biggest administrative time sinks. Besides properly coding and billing each visit, there are many things you need to do to follow up. Patients may pay late or not at all; you need to record and apply payments to accounts; checks will bounce; and insurance companies will question claims.
Even when you have an office staff to take care of billing tasks, this is time they do not spend on providing customer service or helping to build your clientele. Additionally, a messy billing process often means physicians need to get involved because it’s their reputation on the line when patients get upset.
Revenue cycle management companies provide smooth and efficient processes for healthcare billing and followups so healthcare providers can put their time to better use.
Incorrect bills, late bills, inefficient payment systems, or difficulty getting in touch with a human to ask basic questions can all be frustrating for patients. Time spent on healthcare billing can also impact the quality of care and services.
When healthcare billing overwhelms your office staff or patients come back with problems, there is less time to focus on properly gathering information and building relationships. Nurses may also get sidetracked by billing questions as patients can view them as more knowledgeable than the people at the front desk. Doctors who are already on a tight schedule may also fall further behind trying to resolve billing issues with patients who come to the office or call in. Using a revenue management company allows doctors and nurses to put 100% of their focus on patient health. It also gives patients a dedicated contact for any billing issues.
Insurance claim denials can cause lost time and revenue for healthcare providers. You may decide that it’s too much of a hassle to keep pursuing a claim. You may also find that you don’t have the supporting information that the insurance company requires.
Revenue cycle management companies provide an additional layer of checks before your claim makes it to the insurance company. They keep experienced billing and coding specialists on staff to audit your claims before they get to the insurance company. This catches routine errors that cause the insurer to reject the claim.
Having dedicated software and a more efficient process improves the quality of your claims from the start. With a better structure in place, you can prevent many errors and omissions when your staff tries to input information.
A patient’s unwillingness or inability to pay are not the only reasons for lost receivables. Often, the medical office loses track of outstanding accounts, just never bothers to collect, or writes off old debts because so much time has passed without the office sending a bill.
There are two ways to increase receivables collection with revenue cycle management. One is by implementing better processes to ensure you bill for all services in a timely manner. The other is to follow up on any unpaid or late accounts before the debt becomes too old to collect.
Increasing your collections and doing it more quickly naturally ensures you will have a better cash flow. This can also help you free up additional cash by letting you take advantage of early payment discounts on vendor invoices and allowing you to pay off debt more quickly to avoid interest charges.
You will also have better information to use when predicting your cash flow. Improved accounting procedures will show you variables such as the average time for an invoice to be paid, how much you can expect to write off, and any seasonal variations in cash flow.
Many independent healthcare providers use several systems to keep track of everything. This might include separate systems for medical files, patient billing records, insurance claims, credit card payments, and taxes. Manually moving data between these systems adds time and introduces an opportunity for error.
Revenue cycle management software either replaces each of these tools with a single, all-in-one tool, or adds automatic integrations so that data seamlessly transfers between systems.
Many small medical practices cannot pull up simple data such as how many bills are outstanding or the cash intake for the prior 30 days. They need to have the bookkeeper or accountant run a report, and that person needs to collect or consolidate the data before doing so. Revenue cycle management software tracks this information in the background so that you can run commonly needed reports with the push of a button.
Photo credits: Photo on Freepik