How smoothly does your billing office operate? Do you know exactly where all the EOB's are kept? Can you measure the productivity of your staff? How does your accounts receivable (A/R) look? These are just a few of the questions I routinely ask billing office managers and am surprised at the number that can't provide answers.
If you're considering revamping your billing office consider some of these suggestions:
1. Run a complete accounts receivable aging report. What percentage of the total money is 120 days and older? The percentage should be very small as compared to the total A/R. The report should be run to encompass everything up to the date you run the report. If 20% of the practice's money is 120 days or older, you may be missing out on valuable reimbursement.
2. Divide the A/R by physician rather than insurance payer. This allows everyone to become familiar with different payers and their reimbursement rules. It also allows you to measure the productivity of your collectors. It's a good idea to switch the physicians around every six months to a year. This way you can see who is really working the accounts and if they exhibit the level of knowledge necessary in a billing office.
3. Streamline duties. Depending upon the size of the practice, try to have only one or two people posting charges and one or two people posting payments. It's easier to hold one or two people accountable than five or six.
4. Organize. Put EOB's in a readily-accessible place for your collectors to refer to when reviewing denied claims and filing secondary claims. Keep them in chronological order by date.
5. Place time limits on duties. Establish the turn-around time for posting charges and payments. The longer a claim waits to be filed, the longer it takes to get reimbursed for services rendered. Forty-eight (48) hours is usually an acceptable amount of time.
Change will be difficult for staff at first if you're implementing these never-before tried procedures but once the changes are implemented, they will be grateful for a more defined delegation of duties and a clear idea of what's expected of them.
Reproduced by permission from The Coker Group, CokerConnection, (Roswell, GA: The Coker Group, 2003), Vol. 3, No. 9, September 2003 by The Coker Group.