Friday, May 8, 2015

5 Patient Billing Tips to Improve Your Medical Practice's Cash Flow

When it comes to improving your medical practice’s cash flow, there are plenty of vital aspects that need to be taken into consideration. For a medical practice to be financially successful, it is crucial to implement sound medical billing and collection procedures.

Whether you're embracing the complexities of pediatric billing or dialing in your health center billing strategy, the following tips will certainly help reduce your receivables, thereby saving you time and making your job easier. Here are some unique patient/medical billing tips to help improve your practice's cash flow.

Be Informative Regarding Payment Policies

It’s important to let the patients know about the new payment policy, so that they are aware of what to expect before the first appointment. Considering the fact that medical offices are busy places, this can’t always be followed on consistent basis, but it should be strived for. Also, owing to the complexities of insurance plans, patients may not be aware of the deductibles and co-payments and they tend to assign this responsibility to the practice.

The practice will likely make the best effort to identify the benefits, but patients should understand that they are eventually responsible for any balance that is not paid by the insurance company. So any good medical billing practice, this should be made clear to the patient both verbally and in writing.

Acquire Sufficient Patient Information from the Start

Getting complete demographic and insurance information is crucial for improving the efficiency of medical billing and collection procedures. It is the duty of the receptionist to ensure that new patient demographic forms are complete in all respects.

As patients tend to be rushed, they often leave out critical information. By checking forms for completeness relieves you from having to make calls to the patient later on. This is perhaps one of the most often overlooked medical billing tips that's very easy to implement effectively.

Get Patients' SSN

Another patient billing tip is to make sure to obtain the patient’s social security number. Patients are often reluctant in giving out their social security number for security reasons. But, you need to educate the patient that a number of insurance companies still utilize SSN as a way of identification.

You should also explain to the patient that a social security number will speed up the processing of the claim. Moreover, it is easier to go after an unpaid patient when you have their social security number. We give credit to FQHC billing company - Practice Management for that tip, as they offer a wealth of expertise and professional insight on all things medical billing, spanning from OB/GYN billing to pediatric billing.

Assess Patients' Eligibility & Benefits

Always ensure to check your patient's eligibility and benefits. There is medical billing software that offers insurance eligibility verification. While this technology may not be ideal, it can save you considerable amount of time. You can use insurance company websites that are available to check eligibility and benefits. It is easier said than done in a busy practice, but you need to do it selectively.

Establish Patient Agreements

Get patients to sign an agreement that allows you to leave voice messages at the phone number concerning account billing matters. If there is no such agreement in place, the staff is not legally permitted to leave specific billing and collection information on a voice mail. If the account of a patient is overdue, you have a better chance of collecting your fees if you are able to leave a message requiring immediate payment, or the account will be turned over to the collection agency.

With that being said, implementing these procedures will help you reduce your collections volume and improve your practice's cash flow. The idea is to save time and money, which will eventually improve your overall billing and collection practices. As an alternative to optimizing your practices internal billing processes, you can also recruit the help of medical billing agencies to provide their resources and expertise.

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