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CG Team Blog

Make Effective Use of Collection Agencies

Posted by Michael S. Lewis, MBA, FACMPE & Deborah Mathis, CPA, CHBC

Aug 9, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Take care when selecting the collection agency for your practice as agencies vary tremendously in their capabilities. Here a few items to consider:

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Topics: A/R Into Cash

Denial

Posted by Michael S. Lewis, MBA, FACMPE & Deborah Mathis, CPA, CHBC

Aug 2, 2016 8:30:00 AM

It isn’t just a river in Egypt! Make sure you’re aware of some of the different types of denials you may receive for your patients:

Registration Denial

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Topics: A/R Into Cash

Work That Correspondence!

Posted by Michael S. Lewis, MBA, FACMPE & Deborah Mathis, CPA, CHBC

Jul 26, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Correspondence must be worked every day. You can minimize correspondence for denials through eligibility verification and ensuring that claims are “clean” when submitted.

Prioritize A/R Efforts
Sort A/R by balance due, account type, payer type/plan, date claim submitted, date of service, age of account and insurance. Create dollar buckets that fit your specialty (i.e., $3,000+, $2,000-2,999, $1,000-1,999, $500-999, $100-499, $50-99, $10-49).

Secondary Payers
Understand the coordination of benefit rules and automate the submission process for secondary payers.

Patient Balance Follow-Up
Prioritize based the date of service, dollar amount, insurance coverage of self pay, and balances after insurance or co-payments.

Establish a Process
Bill as soon as the balance becomes the patient’s responsibility. Bill at specified intervals, use pre-collection letters and telephone calls.

Don’t forget to measure your staff’s performance on their follow up workload. This includes reviewing correspondence from the payer that shows denial and/or underpayment, identifying cause of denial or underpayment, pulling medical documentation and/or other support and developing a case for reconsideration of payment.

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Topics: A/R Into Cash

Improving Cash Collections After Date of Service

Posted by Michael S. Lewis, MBA, FACMPE & Deborah Mathis, CPA, CHBC

Jul 19, 2016 8:30:00 AM

It’s time to submit claims to the insurance company. There are a few ways to make this process seamless.

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Topics: A/R Into Cash

Improving Time of Service Payments

Posted by Michael S. Lewis, MBA, FACMPE & Deborah Mathis, CPA, CHBC

Jul 12, 2016 8:30:00 AM

As with any business, a lack of management oversight can be a challenge and detrimental to the financial well-being of a practice.  Managers, make sure you know what’s going on at the front desk! Perception is key.

Staff should be comfortable with asking patients for payment. It should be part of the financial policy.
Ask these questions of your practice:

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Topics: A/R Into Cash

Measuring Your Staff's Ability to Collect Balances

Posted by Michael S. Lewis, MBA, FACMPE & Deborah Mathis, CPA, CHBC

Jul 5, 2016 8:30:00 AM

A practice needs consistent collection efforts. You wouldn’t walk into a Macy’s, take a pair of pants, and tell the cashier “bill me.” The same applies to a medical practice: a patient should never receive a service and walk out without a financial transaction. This responsibility falls upon your front desk staff.

How effective is each staff person at collecting patient responsibility? It’s up to you to establish this culture and educate your staff about the financial policy. Encourage staff to collect charges when the patient is in front of them. Also make sure that physicians support the financial policy of the practice and don’t make exceptions for patients.

Staff should be trained in the following areas:

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Topics: A/R Into Cash

Navigating the High Deductible Era

Posted by Michael S. Lewis, MBA, FACMPE & Deborah Mathis, CPA, CHBC

Jun 28, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Deductibles can create additional challenges with consumer-directed healthcare shifting greater financial responsibility from the insurance company to the patient. It is the practice’s/physician’s responsibility, however, to educate patients on the financial policy. Ask these questions ahead of time to avoid potential issues:

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Topics: A/R Into Cash

Benchmarking Accounts Receivable

Posted by Michael S. Lewis, MBA, FACMPE & Deborah Mathis, CPA, CHBC

Jun 21, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Let’s discuss some benchmarks that you can use to monitor your practice’s accounts receivable (A/R).

Days in A/R

Knowing the days in A/R for your medical practices – the average number of days it takes a practice to collect payments – is critical.  Looking at this measure each month can provide an early warning of potential collection problems and the effect on cash flow.

To calculate days in AR:

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Topics: A/R Into Cash

Turning Accounts receivable into cash

Posted by Michael S. Lewis, MBA, FACMPE & Deborah Mathis, CPA, CHBC

Jun 14, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Welcome to the first blog post in our Accounts Receivable (A/R) into Cash blog series! During the series, we’ll discuss how physicians and medical practice managers can increase upfront collections, reduce patient accounts receivable and improve cash flow. Well, since we’re on the topic, why wait? Let’s get started!

Billing starts immediately from the time a patient makes that first phone call or as soon as they check in at the physician’s office. From this point, there are ways to make sure that the process runs smoothly for both the practice and the patient from start to finish.

We can’t stress enough the importance of the eligibility process. Before the patient comes in for the first appointment, ensure that your practice participates with his/her insurance.  Confirm that your specific services offered are covered by the patient’s insurance, and verify his/her eligibility. It’s also important to identify the patient’s co-pay and deductible ahead of time.

Make sure the patient understands and acknowledges your practice’s financial policy. Reiterate your financial policy verbally, post it on your website and have it signed by the patient at check-in (with a copy kept in his/her medical record). If a patient has previous balances, he/she should be informed at the time of appointment scheduling, and they should be collected before the patient sees the doctor.

Ensure payment arrangements are documented in writing and signed by the patient. You need to confirm with the patient what will happen if payments are missed.  You may request auto charge on the patient’s credit/debit card through third party vendors which we’ll talk more about in later blog posts. Remember, you have to operate your medical practice so that it covers your expenses.

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Topics: A/R Into Cash