Generating medical bills and collecting payments is a tedious task for healthcare organizations. From claim denials to slow reimbursements, medical billing is often exhausting. Hence, an inefficient medical billing process can disrupt your revenue cycle and adversely impact your bottom line.
In this article, we have compiled a few key tips to help you streamline your medical billing services and minimize errors. We will also discuss how you can optimize your revenue cycle and improve your medical billing process.
Tips to Improve Your Medical Billing Processes
Implementing a streamlined and efficient medical billing system is a task that demands an organization’s attention and time. It requires employing the right practices to reduce unpaid bills and debt while maximizing profits. Below are 5 tips to boost your billing workflow and maintain financial independence.
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- Design and Follow a Transparent Billing and Collection Process
Following a streamlined and transparent medical billing process and collection policy reduces the time spent on claim settlements. This ensures efficient management of the revenue cycle.
With a well-defined collection policy, you have a set pattern to follow. Make sure to communicate with new patients and outline their responsibility towards making payments for all the services offered. You can include details about your collection policy in the paperwork that patients fill out initially when they visit your establishment.
Make sure to clarify the terms and conditions regarding claim settlement beforehand. Let them know about the various options available to patients, such as deductibles, co-pays, etc.
Additionally, make sure you have all the patient records handy. This will help you contact them later and send them reminders for payment if required.
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- Diligently Follow Up with Inquiries
Usually, the billing department of your healthcare organization will constantly be in touch with the patients and insurance companies. While they may send bill details to the patients and the relevant insurance companies, these documents may get buried in their inboxes. So, it is crucial to follow up and track the receivables. Many times, patients have queries. A quick follow-up can help you address queries (if any) and accelerate the collection process.
A successful follow-up can help you:
- Maintain a steady flow of income to your organization’s bank accounts
- Reduce the lead time between invoicing and receiving payments
- Obtain overdue payments without much hassle
- Recover claims pending due to a lack of additional information or patient queries
- Avoid missing claims
- Maintain and Update Patient Records
Between appointments, patients may change their residence, resulting in a change in their addresses. They may change their contact details or even their insurance coverage. Such changes may directly impact your medical billing services. Out-of-date information could lead to slow reimbursement or denials. Hence, to handle your billing process efficiently, you must instruct your staff to verify all patient information and insurance details during each visit.
Many times, patients change their jobs and have different insurance providers. Alternatively, they may upgrade their insurance policy to a more or less expensive plan. To tackle such cases, it is important to check the policy details such as policy numbers and patient information every time to avoid discrepancies later.
- Track Denials to Identify the Issues
To improve the efficiency of your medical billing services, create a system that helps you centrally track denials. This is, by far, the most effective way to boost your revenue cycle.
If you notice that the number of denials is increasing, maybe it is time to review the process and streamline it. For instance, higher than anticipated denial rates could be a sign that your team requires advanced training. So, track the denials to identify the most common errors and streamline your process accordingly.
Some of the most common causes for denials are:
- Insufficient/incorrect supporting documents
- Physicians are not adequately credentialed
- Your team uses codes for equipment or medical services that are not covered by a specific carrier
When you carefully track all denial codes, you can easily highlight the inadequacies in your billing process. For instance, if your claims are constantly returned for services that have been labeled as ‘non-covered’, it could mean you need to review the internal process for substantiating insurance coverage and your coding protocols.
- Automate Simple Billing Functions
It is common to encounter errors in the medical billing process. Several factors may lead to claim denials, from simple human errors during patient data transfers to obsolete insurance details. Thankfully, you can improve your billing process by using automated software to manage routine tasks.
For instance, you can integrate your EHR with efficient billing software to automate tasks such as coding updates, payment reminders, and individual claims filing. By automating these everyday healthcare BPO services, officials in your billing department can focus on important tasks and boost your revenue cycle.
These are some simple yet effective tips to improve your medical billing process. Following these tips can help you improve patient experiences, streamline business operations, and optimize your revenue cycles.
You can also outsource the most problematic collections to third-party revenue management companies. These companies have years of experience handling billing processes. Thus, they can easily navigate the challenges that may arise while administering the medical billing process.