Factors Outside of Billing Can Have a Profound Effect on Account Receivables in Healthcare
It’s already June, which means you’re probably evaluating your revenue for the first half of 2018 and examining your goals for the rest of the year. All practices and hospitals need to take the time to determine where they have been, where they are now, and where they are going to stay on track to meet their revenue objectives. Below are some key areas to examine when you are assessing accounts receivables:
1. Budgeting Revenue
Each practice or hospital handles their budgeting differently. In general, many forecast revenue by using historical Relative Value Unit (RVU) data and then estimating the rise (or drop) in RVUs according to planned office openings, expanded office hours, new provider hires, and other factors such as new equipment or procedures that will increase revenue. If you are expecting any Medicare penalties in the upcoming year, don’t forget to factor that into your planning as well.
2. Examining Operations
Some people believe the way to gain efficiency in operations, and therefore keep more of your revenue, is to find inefficiencies that (after corrected) allow you to do more with less. While rooting out inefficiencies and excess is always a valuable exercise, it is only half of the big picture. It can also be useful to ask yourself, what changes can be made to increase revenue? For example, if there is an issue with outstanding balances in your practice, what can be done to collect more of those balances? Answers can range from dedicating a front-desk person to check-outs with the purpose of collecting more money at time-of-service to investing in an outstanding balance reminder system for patients utilizing text or email.
3. Maximizing Patient Scheduling
Scheduling patients efficiently and effectively not only increases patient satisfaction by decreasing wait-times, but it can also help drive revenue by making the most out of office hours. One strategy is to create different appointment lengths according to the reason for the visit, such as allocating new patient visits a longer time slot than established patient visits. A frustrating cause of front-desk back-up and subsequent delay is the checking-in of new patients. Many practices now have all new patient information and forms available on their website. Patients that fill in these forms at home are more likely to fill them in completely. Being able to hand in the forms at check-in keeps makes it quicker for your staff to get the patient to the examining room on time.
4. Creating a Long-term Focus
Upward shifts in key revenue metrics, such as average payment per procedure, do not happen overnight and can be influenced by several factors. When setting your A/R goals, consider how they will affect the complete revenue cycle. If your goal is to increase average payment per procedure, you need to look beyond your billing staff. Perhaps one of the things holding back your A/R is a high rate of denials for a high-dollar procedure. A complete audit will likely reveal the true heart of the issue, such as a consistent lack of documentation and subsequent coding problems that lead to the denial.
Keeping a close eye on A/R by accurately budgeting, assessing operations, maximizing scheduling and setting long-term goals are only some of the strategies that can be used to ensure a healthy revenue flow for your practice or hospital. At Infinx, we have helped our clients increase efficiency by 55% and productivity by 30% on average, leading to higher patient satisfaction and increased revenue. To learn how we can boost your income and decrease costs, contact us today.