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Getting Paid Faster – How Small Practices Can Improve Their Revenue Cycle

Keeping on top of your revenue cycle is not a once-a-week or twice-a-week job. Every day, practices should enter charges, submit claims, and work any rejections and denials. The more attention these various efforts get, the faster your practice will get paid.

Setting expectations is the key—especially in a busy office with so many other pressing duties to attend to. The only way to ensure a constant flow of revenue is to set expectations for physicians, coders, and billing staff regarding timeliness and efficiency.

For example, there should not be a big delay between services rendered and charge entry. A physician who delays submitting his or her charges for a week after the date of service causes your practice to start the claims process seven days behind schedule. This could result in further delays down the road, and certainly does not yield the most efficient process.

Instead, practices should set expectations with physicians about the timeframe in which they must submit charges. Coders should also understand and acknowledge their responsibility for timely coding once all physician information is received.

Staff and physicians may not be aware of how much seemingly small delays can trip up the revenue cycle process downstream. If your practice struggles with this, some targeted education on the topic may be beneficial.

To see where your revenue cycle may be hitting roadblocks, make sure you’re periodically reviewing reports that show the different aspects of the revenue cycle. They can highlight problems that need to be fixed. But just like charge submissions and denials, this review should not take place intermittently. It must be a daily task completed by members of the revenue cycle staff.

Key reports to examine include ones that show unbilled charges and compare dates of service with billing dates. These can help your practice identify specific providers who lag behind in submitting their charges or coders who are falling behind. Revenue cycle leaders can work to uncover the reasons behind these delays and address any issues.

Similarly, examining reports about delayed, rejected and/or denied claims can reveal potential issues with a provider, a billing staff member or a payer. While some rejections and denials may be for unique reasons, many times there are patterns to the rejections and denials your practice can address.

Using reports to track patterns and potential problems can help further improve the efficiency of your revenue cycle—and ultimately get you paid faster.