Well-run practices watch their collections like hawks. The financial health of your practice is directly correlated with your A/R numbers. How can you bring in the most cash? How can you collect the most amount of money with the least amount of time and effort? These are questions your practice needs to think about when addressing A/R numbers. Below are tips to help you improve your practice A/R.
- Enforce practice financial policies. Make sure your practice has a written financial policy in place that clearly defines a patient’s financial responsibility and delineates staff responsibility in collecting fees. Once you have established written policies for collections with your patients, make sure your staff is enforcing them. Do now allow exceptions.
- Do not extend credit to patients. Have patients pay their share in advance or as they go. It’s important to give them payment options. Accept cash and credit card payments. Give discounts to cash patients. If necessary make them charity cases or refer them out. Do not become a credit company.
- Solve collection problems in advance with financial policy agreements. Give each patient a financial policy to sign so they understand their payment obligations. By letting patients know up front what’s expected of them, and educating your staff on the policies and procedures to follow, you can plug the financial drain that nonpaying patient’s put on your practice.
- Never avoid money discussions. Talking to patients about money should be as easy as talking to them about their health or their families. Discussing and resolving money issues is important if you care about the patient’s well-being. Don’t allow a patient’s financial issue stop a needed procedure.
- Manage collections by the numbers. Monitor your billing staff productivity with reporting available through your practice management system. Set quota targets and reward improved performance. Your billing and collections staff should know the priorities of the practice to collect the most money possible.
- Give insurance companies no slack. The longer an insurance company can hold onto your reimbursements, they more money they make. Start with clean claims and make sure your patient data is accurate. Include medical records or other documentation that you know the insurance company will want. Fight every denial through phone calls and correspondence with the insurance company.