More than ever before, practices must place greater focus on managing the revenue cycle process because of a tight economy and strict industry guidelines. With many imminent industry changes, such as ICD-10, it is important for every medical practice to implement specific processes to ensure their revenue cycle is not negatively impacted.
Nationally recognized revenue cycle expert Elizabeth Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC, has developed a seven step system that any practice can use to help redefine and manage revenue cycle efficiency. These steps include:
- Review your payer contracts. The revenue cycle begins long before a patient ever walks in the door. It is important to develop positive, meaningful relationships with your payers to have smooth payment processes.
- Implement a financial clearance process. Don’t leave patients in the dark about what they owe—set up clear financial expectations before service is rendered so everyone knows what to expect.
- Collect payments at the time of service. Establishing guidelines about patient responsibility can help with pre-service payments and can increase your practice’s percentage of successfully collected payments.
- Deploy technology. The focus on electronic health records (EHRs) and other automated revenue cycle technology systems has made it easier than ever to improve cash flow, reduce costs and enable staff to work with new technology.
- Prevent and manage denials. Develop a systematic process for managing and tracking denials so you can monitor them by type, frequency and payer to reveal new opportunities to make your collections process more efficient.
- Reengineer your collections cycle. Tighten your collections cycle to 90 days or less and develop a well-rounded collections process, which includes partnering with a collections agency and establishing a financial hardship policy.
- Develop a dashboard. Determine a set of metrics to regularly measure and report, and make sure they are easily accessible through a tool such as an online dashboard.
To learn more how each step can help your practice improve its revenue cycle, download this free white paper, Seven Steps to Improve Your Practice’s Revenue Cycle Management, and get on track for a successful revenue cycle year in 2012.