billing and collections
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If you want your billing and collections to be as smooth and effective as possible, it must be a team effort. It can’t be up to just a couple of people and it definitely can’t be a blame game.
Practices are overwhelmed with phone calls, paperwork, pre-authorizations, and patient care. Sometimes the ‘paper’ things can fall through the cracks. It is these things that end up snowballing and result in more work, frantic calls and denied claims.
Here are some tips that will help smooth out the process. They may seem insignificant or deemed to be more trouble than they are worth. But, in the long run, if everyone on the team does their part, it means less clean-up work, less stress, and faster payments.
The collection process starts BEFORE the patient shows up for their appointment.
- If the patient is new to the practice send a welcome packet with all of the paperwork that they need to complete. Sending it before the appointment helps to ensure they will have all of the correct information.
- If they are established patients then remind them to bring their current insurance card.
- On the day of the visit, ask to see a copy of the patient’s insurance card. Too many times this step is either omitted or the staff will just ask if anything has changed. Most patients will automatically say no simply because they don’t remember. Insurance plans change more frequently these days, so it is best to verify and update all information at every visit.
- Make sure that the name on the insurance card matches exactly to what is entered in your practice management system. Mis-spellings, missing middle initials, and typographical errors will all result in denied claims.
- Collect all outstanding patient balances before the patient goes into the exam room.
- Make it as easy as possible for patients to pay their deductibles, copay or self-pay payments. Allow payments via credit cards, patient portals, mobile devices, and paper checks.
- Train select employees to set up payment plans for those patients that can’t pay their portion of the bill in full. Make sure your back office or billing company knows of these payment plans so they can track compliance.
- The billing staff or company can’t bill and collect if charges aren’t submitted. Make sure that charges are submitted daily. There should be a check and balance to ensure that a charge was submitted for every patient that had an appointment that day.
- Make sure that coding is accurate. Do you have the correct modifier? Are the number of units correct?
- Make sure the pre-authorization/referral matches the service and the date of service exactly. Make sure the information is noted on the claim.
When everyone on the team takes their part of the billing and collection process seriously things will go much smoother. The practice will see an increase in revenue and the staff won’t struggle with clean-up work. That is a win for everyone.