The New Year always brings new challenges for healthcare organizations, and 2012 is no exception. Case-in-point: The transition to 5010 is already testing the financial health of practices—and that only took effect on January 1.
While much of the 5010 transition seems to have progressed smoothly, it’s imperative that practices across the nation carefully monitor their cash flow and bottom line throughout the year to make sure that this trend continues. Spikes in rejections and denials, for instance, can be the first warning signs of problems—and may or may not be related to the 5010 transition.
In addition to checking to make sure your 5010 claims are being correctly processed and paid, there are a number of additional tactics that practices can use to improve revenue in the coming year:
- Verify patient eligibility prior to scheduled visits. Eligibility verification tools offer some of the easiest ways to quickly spot and resolve any potential payment problems. As an added bonus, verification lets you know how much a payer will reimburse for a scheduled service. As a best practice, you can use this information to explain to patients exactly how much they will owe for the appointment.
- Encourage patients to pay off their balances quickly. One simple way to do this is to add incentives or convenience for patients. Many people prefer to pay their bills online, so adding a credit card “bill pay” option to your secure website would work with the habits they have already formed. You could also consider offering a discount to patients who pay their balances in full at the conclusion of their visits—or shortly after.
- Streamline processes throughout the revenue cycle. Make sure you’re effectively managing both claims and remittance processes. Use all available electronic tools to ease your entire accounts receivable (A/R) workflow. This should bring productivity up and days in A/R down.
- Monitor secondary claims. Don’t underestimate the value of secondary claims; those dollars can add up quickly. Take advantage of solutions that help you easily submit and collect on secondary claims—whether electronically or on paper.
- Leverage patient data for new opportunities. Take patient care coordination and management to a new level. If at all possible, mine the data available in your practice’s technology solutions to ensure that your patients are following their prescribed care plans—including receiving all recommended preventive exams and screenings. This simple step helps strengthen your patient care and, simultaneously, helps strengthen your revenue stream.
These are just a few quick tips to ensure a steady and healthy revenue cycle; there are many other items practices can and should do in the New Year. What are your top tips for improving revenue?