Managing accounts receivable (AR) is a crucial part of your practice's profitability. However, you may not be as on top of this task as you think. A recent article from Medical Economics highlighted three common AR mistakes and how to correct them:
Treating all AR the same: Patients' financial responsibilities represent an increasingly large percentage of most practices' AR, and it's important for practices to analyze the time it takes to collect these balances separately from insurance payments. "It's important to break down the patient AR from the insurance AR to be able to understand what's driving each of them. You can't just look at it as one massive AR," Laurie Morgan, a senior consultant with California-based Capko & Morgan, told Medical Economics .
Overreliance on billing companies: Even if you outsource your billing, tracking and
managing AR is still the practice's responsibility. Practice managers, therefore, should work in concert with billers to make sure all parties receive the information they need and performance meets expectations. Treat your billing company as you would an employee, offering feedback when results are not up to par, Morgan recommended.
Understaffing: Practices often make the mistake of not maintaining sufficient front-office staff to adequately verify insurance benefits and educate patients about financial policies, according to Tina Smith, administrator of Steamboat Medical Group in Colorado. But pre-visit eligibility verification is a step practices can't afford to skip. as the costs to resolve problems on the back end can quickly exceed the expense of a proactive approach. What's more, front-desk employees are crucial to helping patients, especially the newly insured, understand their benefits and responsibilities .
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