My children, like all little ones, are true blessings from God. Like all parents, I do have to say that I believe that they are receiving the best education on the planet. I say that because they believe that they know EVERYTHING, all you have to do is ask them!
The other day my oldest son told me that he was tired of working on the family farm. He told me that he was going to make money by putting less effort out. When I asked him how he couldn’t quite tell me but he would figure it out, that he would work “smarter, not harder.”
That comment did get me thinking, could a practice make more money by working smarter, not harder. I believe that we have found some ways to benefit offices that may be trying to cope with finding more revenue without shelling out dollar bills. After all, the loss of potential income, income that is vital to everyone, especially new or small practices is one of the biggest fears of every professional, and it could possible mean the literal difference between making your dream come true and struggling to keep your doors open.
This two-part article offers simple tips, things you may already be doing, but emphasizes the importance the little things that adds up to earning more with out doing more.
Here are the first of a few tips on how to improve your revenue WITHOUT spending money and with very little effort.
- Upon patient arrival, get a current insurance card from them EACH and EVERY time.
A patient, whom is seen only periodically especially, may have very little knowledge of the fine print of their insurance policy. For a vast number of patients that you see, all they know is they need a check-up and they have insurance. It is up to the office staff to notice and notify that person of any changes in their policy and what charges, including a co-pay, for which they may be responsible. It is also vitally important that the office input the information in a correct manner.
- Collect all outstanding balances, including co-pay, ON THE SPOT
To put it one way, a person who is figuratively starving to death is more willing to pay a premium for a filling meal before they eat than after. The same can be true for people you see. They may be in pain, or know that they have put off coming to see you for one reason or another and the best chance that you have to collect from them is when they are seen. ALWAYS try to collect or set up some sort of payment plan before a patient is seen.
Consistency will play a huge role in collecting as well. It must be stressed to the front office staff that each and every time someone comes in and has an outstanding bill or owes a co-pay that they expected to settle that debt before services are rendered. If one is expected and asked to do something consistently, it won’t be a surprise. After all, it is human nature to do what is expected.
A quick final thought on this. It may be in how the question is framed that you get better results. Simply asking “Can you pay this today?” is maybe the worst way to ask this question. You are way more likely to succeed in getting the amount due if you consistently say something like, “Ms. Smith, you owe $40 dollars today for your visit. Would you like to pay for that in cash, check, debit or credit card? We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover.”
- Scheduling for Success
As you know, time is money and there are only so many hours in the day to make a premium and having control over the schedule is key to determining how much revenue can be made.
One thing to consider in scheduling is your mix of patients. If your practice is 75% existing and 25% new, your schedule should reflect such. The amount of income that is earned by an office may be identical whether it be a new patient or an existing one. As we all know, a personal connection as well as their bio and records should already be obtainable for an existing patient; however, it will take a time commitment for a person who is new to the practice to feel comfortable and be properly attended to. If patients are alternated, it is less likely that a logjam of patients will occur, making it possible for a provider to see as many people as possible.
Another possibility to schedule for success is to consider double-booking certain patients. This may seem counterintuitive, but recent Medicaid studies have shown that one in three patients don’t show up for scheduled appointments. Other studies have shown that, especially for follow-up visits, closer to 50% of patients neglect to show. Double-booking may be a possible answer to collect as much in a given day as possible, but beware if your practice sees a tremendous amount of emergency cases or your office often remains behind schedule, this may not be an answer.
- Cut Your Overhead Costs with a Billing and Coding Company that offers a FREE EHR System. This could save TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars a year in costs per year.
When you decide to partner with Midwest Medical Billing, LLC., we will offer you a FREE nation-wide, world class, cloud-based system that could save tens of thousands of dollars per year. This system ranks as one of the top two on the 2015 Best on the Medical Billing Service Review. The services that we can offer include no charges for software updates, no start-up costs and no equipment to purchase.
- It is vital that your biller must feel that their job is the most important job in the practice.
No matter if you outsource or choose to keep your medical coding and billing team in house, it is imperative that they know the importance of their occupation. They are the first link between the payer and the office and the last contact that a patient may have with your office. They must understand and be educated to be meticulous about the ever-changing world of the healthcare system, its codes and what they can and can not bill the insurance company for, then be knowledgeable caring enough to explain to the patients what they owe and why.
Midwest Medical Billing, LLC., has a staff certified in ICD-10’s and will be willing to assist in any way in the advancement of your practice. If you have any questions, please call or email us and we would be happy to assist you.