Collection Tips to increase Practice Revenue

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16 | DECEMBER 2014 practice tips 2 Collection Tips to Increase Practice Revenue By Julia Solooki, MBA Director of Business Development/Marketing

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Page 1: Collection Tips to increase Practice Revenue

16 | DECEMBER 2014

practice tips

2 Collection Tips toIncrease Practice Revenue

By Julia Solooki, MBADirector of Business Development/Marketing

Page 2: Collection Tips to increase Practice Revenue


Tip #1 - Outsourcing Accounts Receivable Tracking down past-due balances and claim denials from insurance companies and patients is tedious work and consumes precious time that many physician practices simply don’t have no matter if you have two or ten people on staff for front and back office work. This is also an area that can become incredibly costly for practices. We don’t have to tell you twice that if money isn’t coming in the door exactly when balances are due, the likelihood of capturing those balances lessens as time goes on. Among other time-consuming areas physician and clinical practices must handle on a daily and weekly basis, this is an area of a practice that is especially ideal for outsourcing. Specialized organizations can devote the proper time to the process and have the expertise to maximize collections. An outsourced accounts receivable collections process begins after the physician’s billing staff creates and sends insurance claims (electronic/paper claims or manual HCFA forms) to various insurance companies. Follow up on electronic claims should begin 10 days after submission, and paper/ Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) claims follow up should begin 20 to 45 days after submission.

The follow-up process is divided into three methods:

1. Online Claims Follow-Up – Using various insurance company websites and internet payer portals, the service provider checks on the status of outstanding claims.

2. Automated Claims Follow-Up – By calling insurance companies directly, an interactive voice response system (IVR) will give the status of unpaid claims.

3. Insurance Company Representative – If necessary, calling a “live” insurance company representative can provide a more detailed reason for claim denials when such information is not available from either websites or automated phone systems.

These outsourced services can help practices delegate specific time-consuming tasks and maximize their collections to boost the bottom line and get money flowing in the door today.

Tip #2 - Quit ‘Leaving Money on the Table’ With Automated Collection Software At what point should practices “leave money on the table” and abandon their collection efforts on patient-owed balances? It’s a difficult decision that today’s practices are being forced to make more often than they’d like. Collecting past-due balances from patients is an important component of the revenue cycle that physician practices must actively manage, but it’s costly, time-consuming and labor-intensive. Only a relatively small percentage of efforts result in successful collection. For the remaining patients who fail to respond, practices are forced to report debts to credit bureaus or take legal action to collect past-due balances. In the end, every dollar invested in the collection process is one less dollar of profit for the practice. But it gets worse. The cost of collecting on small-dollar accounts can easily exceed the past-due balance. The result is that many practices choose to “leave money on the table” rather than pursue advanced collection efforts. Over the course of years, these ignored accounts add up to a substantial sum of money. Perhaps now, with the assistance of technology, practices will no longer have to make the decision to forego collecting past-due balances. A new breed of automated collection software eases the burden of patient collections. These solutions reduce the time and costs associated with standard mail delivery and costly representative phone calls. Automated collection software can be installed and managed by practices to relentlessly – within regulations – contact debtors to increase collection rates. Practices that are considering the implementation of this software should look for the following capabilities:

l Messaging Options – These allow practices to tailor how the patient will be contacted. Options include text, secure text, email, secure email, push notifications to smart phones, and automated calls. These options allow practice to contact debtors via multiple methods to increase collections.

l Decision Rules – These allow practices to configure when and how often the debtor is contacted. Options include setting the date, time, hour and frequency of contact.

Practices employing automated collection software can reduce their collection costs and increase the chances of collecting balances by eliminating representative involvement and automating the process. Most importantly, practices can quit “leaving money on the table.”