The goal of any medical practices billing department is to get the claim to zero. Those who've worked in medical billing know that it is sometimes easier said than done. During the first quarter of the year accounts receivables, or AR for short, can be particularity high because of patient deductibles.
Below are five easy steps to reducing your AR.
1. Calculate Your Days in AR
- Without knowing this figure it's hard to gauge if claims are being paid in a timely fashion.
Once you know your days in AR you can set benchmarks and start setting goals for the billing team. You can also make a plan to work down your days in AR once you've established a benchmark. 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 AR is running so high.
2. Gather Critical Data
If your practice isn't gathering critical information on the phone when a new patient calls it's a lost opportunity to reduce AR. Obtaining insurance before the patient comes in allows your team to check eligibility, copay's and deductibles. Your PM system may allow you to do same day checks. But, during busy clinic times front desk staff may not be able to pull this information.
Another critical best practice is making sure patient information is up to date when the patient is in the office.
Demographic mistakes can delay claim payments for at least 30 days
3. Eligibility Verification
Verifying insurance is a sure fire way to ensure AR goes down. Knowing if a patient owes a copay, deductible or has lapsed coverage allows your front desk team to collect the appropriate payment up front. This reduces billing the patient. Or, chasing down a patient for new insurance information, etc.
Approximately two thirds of denials are eligibility issues in clinics that have no formal and monitored verification process.
4. Collect Up Front
If your practice puts a process in place to check eligibility your office can start collecting more money up front. This reduces the need to files many claims, especially for patients with high deductibles. It will also reduce the time and money spend sending statements.
The more you automate the more time your practice will have to work claims that aren't getting paid and adversely affect your AR. Most practice management systems have a way to automate most tasks that do not take a billing staffs expertise such as payment posting, eligibility verification, etc.
If you can't automate workflow from your EHR or you want to free your staff up even more, outsourcing is another option. Statements, appointments reminders, and payment options can all be outsourced to free up time to work old claims.
If your practice is having a problem with outstanding accounts receivable the first step is identifying where the breakdown is.
- Are there too many denials for wrong insurance numbers, incorrectly entered information, etc.?
- Are insurances not paying in a timely manner?
- Are denials not being worked in a timely manner?
Calculate your starting days in AR. Put a few simple and measurable steps into your workflow. Measure these by continuing to calculate your AR monthly. Overtime you can establish what methods work for your practice to insure your AR is healthy and performing efficiently.