The general public is well aware of the increasing cost of healthcare. Even with all of the new regulations that have been implemented over the past few years, many individuals and families are seeing higher costs with each passing year.
For those who own or run a clinic or physician practice, the situation is even worse. While clinics and physician practices are also experiencing the same price increases that the general public is experiencing, they are also being squeezed from the other side as well. The fact of the matter is that, while the costs of treatments and procedures is in fact going up, insurance companies, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, have begun reducing their reimbursements at the same time. This puts clinics and physician practices in a uniquely difficult position, where they are being squeezed on the revenue side while also facing a demand problem as consumers find it increasingly difficult to pay for all but the most essential of procedures. This situation necessitates creative and aggressive means of increasing revenue for clinics and physician practices.
There are three specific areas where clinics and physician practices can improve their revenue models: The front-end (or patient acquisition process), coding and management of records, and accounts receivable strategies.
Front-end revenue generation
Even the most efficient clinic or physician practice will be unsuccessful if there are no patients to treat. This means ensuring that there is both quantity and quality in the appointments that are scheduled. Before scheduling an appointment with a new patient, be sure to get their insurance information, and make sure they are aware of whether they are in or out of your network. If a patient is out of network and is not willing to pay the increased costs associated with seeing a doctor out of their network, the worst thing that can happen is that they show up at the office without that knowledge. Not only will you have a disgruntled patient in the waiting room, but they will have taken up an appointment space that could have been taken by an actual patient. Nobody wins in this scenario.
In addition, when a new patient comes to the office, the front office staff should make a copy of their insurance card and their driver's license. This will make it easier to find out the specific insurance information if and when it is needed without contacting the patient, and it will also ensure that your office has the most up to date information about where the patient lives.
Increasing revenue through coding and records management
Depending on the size of the practice, there should be at least one person in the front office whose sole (or primary) responsibility is coding and records management. These have always been important tasks, but with the rapidly changing and increasingly-complex nature of medical billing and coding, these tasks are more important than ever before. Whoever is in charge of coding and records management should also be responsible for staying up to date on any and all changes that are made on a national, state, and local level.
Increased revenue through aggressive accounts receivable strategies
The last thing your clinic or physician practice needs is to not get paid by patients after a procedure or treatment is completed. One of the best ways to ensure payment is to set up an electronic remittance process, which allows payments to be automatically deducted once they are approved and sent to the paying party. The other key element to aggressive accounts receivable is to have well-published and followed collections procedures, so patients know exactly what to expect when they owe your office a payment.
To learn more about how to streamline your front office through outsoucred medical billing and coding, please free to check out out website and/or contact us at any time, and if you would like to read more about what we do and how we can help you, please see our recent blog article.