How to Improve Accounts Receivables in Five Easy Steps

How to Improve Accounts Receivables in Five Easy Steps
What does revenue cycle management mean? Ultimately it is the time it takes to get a claim to zero. The magic number! They number that means you have been paid in full.
For a practice it means taking the necessary steps to make sure you get paid in a timely fashion. The cycle starts when the patient calls the office and ends when the balance is zero. In this post we take on five easy ways to improve your accounts receivable by making simple, accountable changes in your practice.
1.) Calculate Your Days in AR
Many practices don’t know how many days it takes to get paid from the insurance company. Without knowing this figure it is hard for a practice to gauge if they are being paid in a timely fashion. It is also hard for a practice to start putting in best practices if there is no benchmark from which to start.
Once you find out how long it takes to get paid you can start putting in goals for your billers. You can also make a plan to work down your days in AR. An efficient billing department will be under 30 days in accounts receivables. If your practice runs above 40 you have a problem and need to evaluate why your AR is running so high.
2.) Gathering Data Is Critical
Many practices say they can’t afford to take the time to gather insurance information on the phone when a patient calls. That means the practice never verifies coverage before the patient appointment. If your practice doesn’t verify coverage there is no way to know what the patient owes when they come in. If your staff never checks your practice may under collect at the time of service and end up having to spend countless hours billing the patient.
Another critical data gathering best practice is making sure the patient’s information is up to date. All too often office staff forgets to update new insurance information, responsible payer information, new address, etc. These demographic mistakes can cause a claim payment to be delayed at least 30 days.
3.) Eligibility Verification
This goes hand in hand with gathering data, but eligibility verification can dramatically reduce your AR. Imagine knowing a patient still has not met their deductible or has no coverage for the procedure you are about to perform. Instead of collecting the copay your office can collect the entire payment. Further it cost, on average, $25 per claim to manage a denial. Approximately two thirds of denials are eligibility issues in clinics that have no formal and monitored verification process. Finding a way to make your practice staff accountable for verifications is the first step in improving most provider/s accounts receivable.
4.) Collect As Much As You Can Upfront
This goes hand in hand with eligibility. If your practice puts a process in place to check eligibility your office can start collecting more money up front from patients. This reduces the need for statements and lessens the chances of patients not paying their bills. Also, the average statement costs $1.25 to send out when you factor in labor, paper and postage costs.
5.) Automate
The more you automate the more time your practice will have to communicate with payers as needed. Most practice management systems have a way to automate most tasks that do not take a billing staff’s expertise such as simple payment posting, quick eligibility verification, etc. Automated payment posting can save time and free them up to follow up on important issues like outstanding claims. Other practice management system automations that save time, errors and allow providers and billing staff to work together are “missing charge” reports and provider coding tools.
Outsourcing statements and other tasks such as appointment reminders can also free your staff up to work on important issues such as outstanding claims, outstanding patient payments and denials.
If your practice is having a problem with outstanding accounts receivables the first step is identifying where the breakdown is. Once that has been identified you can put in a few simple and measurable steps to insure your AR is healthy and performing efficiently.

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