Don’t like to think about the financial side of your practice?
Some practitioners prefer not to think too much about cash flow because they want to focus on patients; this is admirable, but a serious mistake to make these days. The reality of the situation is that without healthy cash flow, a practice will close in a hurry.
How do you keep your cash flow healthy? We’d like to recommend several ways to use your EHR and medical billing software to speed up your cash flow so that your practice remains healthy. In this post we’ll focus on billing and coding techniques, and in our next installment we’ll discuss collections. Here are five ways you can speed up your medical billing:
Verify Eligibility—And Verify It Again
One of the first steps in cash flow is eligibility verification; if your practice doesn’t have the correct insurance information for a patient, at best payment will be delayed and at worst, it will be denied. Because of the grace period offered by the Affordable Care Act, it’s important to check insurance eligibility at multiple points. We recommend that you check eligibility both when the patient makes the appointment, and 1-3 days before the appointment, depending on how far in advance the appointment is made. This allows you to make sure that you have current information in case the patient has changed payers since making the appointment. And it’s best to create the chart right from the eligibility verification, as MediTouch medical billing software allows, so you are sure to have the correct spelling of the name, address, etc.
Code in the Exam Room – Not Hours Later
Delayed coding = delayed payment. It’s that simple. Too many physicians wait and code their encounters late in the day, which is a recipe for missing and incorrect coding. If you code in the exam room when it’s fresh in your mind, you are more like to capture all the codes you deserve to get paid for. An EHR that is designed for use on the iPad and facilitates dictation with the iPad will streamline your charting so that you can complete it with the patient without interfering with your relationship with the patient.
Doctor to Biller: What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate
It’s easy for information to get lost in the bustle of the day, especially when doctors are seeing a high volume of patients. Your EHR should provide a way for the doctor to communicate questions or special circumstances immediately to the biller in addition to transmitting the encounter ICDs and CPTs, so that billing can be optimized. MediTouch® provides a “Note to the biller” feature that facilitates this communication.
Speed Submission and Reporting with an Integrated Clearinghouse
Why complicate your billing process with multiple vendors? With practice management software with an integrated clearinghouse, you’ll see:
- No lost data or super-bills
- No added integration or maintenance expenses
- No complex clearinghouse reports
Reporting: You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Track
There is no better tool for improving your billing than good reporting. You need to track rejections and denials, and ideally receive real-time rejection alerts so that rejections are corrected as soon as possible. Use your dashboard and other reports to track key performance measures such as Days in Accounts Receivable and Days in Accounts Receivable Over 120 Days. In addition, be sure to use other tools in your medical billing software such as:
- Charts and graphs
- Customizable reports and Excel reports that allow you to manipulate the data as needed
Benchmarking is the best way to insure you are managing trends; as the old saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t track. And looking at your data in different formats like charts and graphs can help you and your staff see trends that you might not have spotted in a spreadsheet format.
In our next installment, we’ll focus on collections and how you can improve your cash flow by improving this key area. Have suggestions for your colleagues? Please share them in the comments box.