As we always say, the billing department is the heart of the medical practice. Sickness in the billing area extends throughout the office and death is possible. This article cites some very common mistakes that, in our experience, are made in new and established offices alike.
Mistake #1: Inaccurate or insufficient financial data. Billing begins when the patient comes into the office. The front desk must obtain accurate financial info right from the start. And verifying benefits for each visit is a MUST.
Mistake #2: Update existing patient info. This mistake is related to the first one and the author suggests that you routinely verify that patient info is accurate. Posting signs instructing patients to notify you of any insurance changes are a waste of time. Your staff must be proactive to verify all data.
Mistake #3: Monitoring account balances. What mechanism do you use to catch patients who owe you money as they request additional services? Certainly when your office makes reminder calls, staff members should remind patients of a balance due and then bring it up during the check-in process.
Mistake #4: Late billing. The author stresses that your office should have specific policies for billing, such as charges are input on the same day, billing is done on a certain schedule, collection calls occur at a specified timeframe, etc. However, we’d go one step beyond that: how do you as a practice manager make sure your policies are being followed? Regular audits (if that’s too scary a word, call them ‘spot-checks’) will reveal staff errors and noncompliance. Please note that we emphasized the word ‘regular.’ It will do no good to check once, find errors and fix them, and not check again for six months.
Mistake #5: Failure to monitor collection performance. Unfortunately, many of our clients are lulled when they see billing being transmitted and deposits made. What reports do you analyze on a regular basis? This is crucial whether your billing is internal to the practice or external. What isn’t measured can’t improve.
This article is a must-read and one too bookmark.