In a medical business climate where costs are rising and payments are declining, it can easily start to feel like your practice is stuck between a rock and a hard place. There are some steps you can take to lessen the stress, however.
The primary thing we recommend is outsourcing your physician billing and collections to a professional medical billing company that can manage all of those tasks that take up so much time and attention. It comes as a surprise to most practitioners, but our clients don’t end up with less money after paying for our services. By outsourcing medical billing to us, they find they end up with increased revenue plus more freedom to focus on patient care.
We understand that not everyone is ready to take that step, though, so if you are still handling your physician billing in-house, here are some tips to help you bolster your revenue by maximizing collections.
Getting the Most from Payer Reimbursements
Millions of dollars are lost every year simply because claims get rejected or denied and no one takes care of resolving them. With an inexperienced medical billing staff, it can easily cost more in labor than a claim is worth, so it is common to just ignore the issues.
Over the years, Medcare MSO has developed a highly efficient physician billing system and has uncovered many common trouble spots in the process. Implementing the following actions can make your own medical billing much more effective and greatly increase your reimbursements from insurers and government payers.
The basics of medical coding and billing are the same for radiology as for any other field of medicine. Still, there are a few things that need a little extra attention to ensure proper claim filing for interventional radiology.
- Have an experienced medical biller “scrub” claims: Filling in basic claim forms isn’t difficult for trained coders and medical billers, but before claims are submitted, they should be reviewed for errors or omissions by an experienced medical biller who knows what to look for to ensure all the necessary information is included. This process is referred to as “scrubbing,” and results in “clean” claims, which greatly reduces the number of rejections and denials.
- Track all your claims: One of the steps that make our medical billing system so successful is simply tracking each claim. By documenting each submission and keeping track of its status, you can avoid having your in-house billers allow claims to expire or just not be aware that they need to be fixed to get payment.
- Develop a system for handling denials and rejections: Sorting out the problems with claims can become extremely time-consuming, so it is important to have a system that includes all the necessary steps to find and resolve any problems with claims. Following the steps of the system will make finding and correcting errors much faster.
- Provide ongoing training for coders and billers: Physician billing and coding is complex, and it takes a lot of experience to get all the details figured out. When you find you have made mistakes resulting in claims being rejected or denied, it is important to train the billers and coders on how those things should have been handled, so you don’t have the same errors being repeated.
How to Efficiently Collect Patient Payments
Not only do you need to get reimbursements from insurers, but you also need to collect the part of each bill that the patient is responsible for. This can be as simple as getting a co-pay when the patient checks in, but when more expensive treatments are involved, it can also include setting up payment plans and collecting payments over a period of time until the balance has been paid. Again, there are a few actions that can greatly increase the overall amount you are paid.
- Collect co-pays and patient payments when service is delivered: It is much easier to collect a payment when service is delivered than it is to get it later. It is a good idea to collect the co-pay when the patient checks in. Sometimes payment amounts can only be determined during the appointment, but in that case, collect the payment before the patient leaves the office whenever possible.
- Send out clear statements: When patients owe you money, it is important to send out regular statements, which must be easy to read and understand. The statement not only reminds patients about their obligation, but it should also help them understand exactly what they are paying for. When they can agree that you are billing a legitimate amount, they are much more likely to pay.
- Make future payments easy: Setting up a way to allow patients to pay online is a great way to help them make their payments. Make sure that any statements you send out contain the account number, amount due, and any other information the patient may need in addition to explaining each of the charges. Patients are much happier to pay when they are confident about the money they owe than when they have any level of fear that they are being “ripped off.”None of these steps are difficult, but the combined effect will greatly enhance the quality of your medical billing. You should start to see more payments, with shorter payment or reimbursement times. Medcare MSO is a full-service medical revenue cycle management (RCM) business with a track record of increasing client revenue. If you have any questions about how we can benefit your business, give us a call today at 800-640-6409.