Is it possible that the physician billing process currently used in your practice is hindering your cash flow and reducing your income? Unfortunately, this is a very common problem, and most of the time the practice doesn’t even know it? There are two common ways in which these things are affected by the manner physician billing is processed.
Having a staff that fails to collect co-pays or previous balances from patients
Physician billing is sometimes controlled by the front desk staff in the physician's office because they fail to collect money patients owed from co-pays or previous balances. Despite any instructions the physician gives to the front desk staff, they do not collect monies owed at the time of service. This inaction means the physician now must pay the necessary postage costs to mail invoices to patients, further delaying collection. Patients are more likely to pay their bill at the time of service than at a later date when they receive the bill in the mail. Therefore, the best physician billing practice is to collect money owed from the patient in the office.
To solve this issue, the physician first must manage the front desk staff to ensure they are doing their job appropriately. If not, then they need instruction as necessary on their responsibility to collect the copays and balances due when service is rendered. If collections do not improve, the physician has no other option than to hire new staff who understand the importance of physician billing and who will follow the process put in place by the provider.
The doctor fails to implement timely and efficient dictation and physician billing procedure
In some instances, the physician, as opposed to the front desk staff, is actually causing the problem. He delays the cash flow because he insists on not updating the processes he is using to assist billing. For example, he does not complete his dictation in a timely manner. He does not ensure that the staff prepares the deposits correctly or on time. Even though a bank processes deposits faster and cheaper, the physician slows the billing and collections by choosing to avoid the expense of having a lockbox.
The physician needs to implement the following:
- Use a lockbox to expedite billing
- Hire staff members who have made physician billing their career and pay them a competitive salary so they will stay
- Enact policies and protocols that teach the staff members how to perform the tasks they are responsible for, and ensure the staff follow these policies and protocols
- Listen when staff makes suggestions that lead to improved work flows, and implement the ones that improve procedures for the better.
If you can avoid these two common problems, you can begin the journey towards creating an efficient and optimized medical billing system. If you would like to learn more about how to increase the cash flow in your medical practice, please feel free to reach out to one of our team members for assistance.