5 Smart 2016 Billing Strategies for Your Practice
Exclusive Article by Alex Tate
When you run a medical facility, your primary concern is likely with caring for you patients, as it should be. However, like any other business, a practice needs consistent cash flow in order to keep the doors open and the lights on. So it can be difficult and frustrating when you aren’t being paid for the services that you have offered.
With ICD-10 and other, recent legislation changes in the medical world, billing has become something of a nightmare for practices, patients, insurance companies, so on and so forth. Unfortunately, having all of your billing in order is important for tax purposes and creating your practice’s 2016 financial plans. Here are six of the ways in which you can improve your billing strategies this year.
- Focus on Specific Accounts for Collections
Gaining collections from past-due accounts can be tricky, as there seems to be a specific window in which you can still reach out to the patient and receive a response. Typically, with accounts that are one to three weeks past due, you can contact the patient and inquire about their overdue payment. If you still struggle to gain a payment, you should not hesitate to consult medical billing professionals.
For accounts that are more than 60-days delinquent, you should directly seek help from billing professionals or a debt collector. These accounts are not a “lost cause”, necessarily, but it might be more difficult to collect a payment. Instead of spending your valuable time on trying to track down payments from these accounts, it is best to hand it over to professionals who will have more leverage when it comes to settling the overdue account.
- Understand the ICD-10 Grace Period
Though ICD-10 has been in place for a number of months now, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has been generous enough to implement a grace period for the new system. Starting on Oct. 1, 2015 and running until Sep. 30, 2016, claims will not be denied due to incorrect coding.
A valid code is still needed in order to fully process a claim, but your practice will not have to see as much revenue loss due to coding mistakes. Utilize the CMS ICD-10 Ombudsman in order to answer coding questions and learn from mistakes made, to further eliminate the potential for lost revenue.
- Outsource Your Medical Billing
When you outsource your medical billing to a team of professionals, your office will gain invaluable benefits. Firstly, as mentioned before, you can receive payments more consistently. Additionally, you will not have to hire someone to work in-house, which can be much less cost-effective than handing over the responsibility to a third party.
You also won’t have to spend time away from your patient care to deal with financial complications, and you won’t have to designate a “point person” to try and figure out the mess of billing at the end of the year. If that wasn’t enough, most medical billing solutions also help you with compliancy like EHR standards and practice management.
- Incorporate a Patient Portal to Your Practice
Having a patient portal as part of your practice can help you acquire payments in a more direct and efficient fashion. Patients will be able to log onto their accounts at home, view their statement and pay their bill. If there are any complications, the patient can communicate with the practice through the portal to resolve issues. And by sending reminders to your patients, you can attempt to settle bills by specified deadlines.
- Use EHR for Year-End Billing Strategies
Like employing the help of a medical billing company, using EHR can help you improve billing strategies in your practice. For instance, with EHR, you can run analytics of all sorts on your practice to see where it is hurting the most. If adjustments need to be made in order to boost your revenue, you can do so accordingly. Practice performance and patient experience can increase as a result, which could potentially draw in a larger and more consistent cash flow for your facility.
Alex Tate is a health IT Consultant at CureMD who provides perceptive, engaging and informative content on industry wide topics including EHR, EMR, practice management and compliance.