Focus on these five things to stay ahead of the competition.
According to the Medical Economics 2021 Physician Report, only 11% of practice owners said they did better in 2020 than in 2019, while 46% said they were doing worse. The top reason listed was lost revenue and increased expenses due to COVID-19.
With patient volumes still below norms, growing competition from urgent care centers and retail clinics, and rising operating costs, experts say every dollar counts. Here are the five best financial strategies to boost a practice’s bottom line.
Practice leaders that want to succeed must track key performance indicators so they can identify opportunities for improvement. Compare your performance year to year and to other similar practices in the following categories:
The most successful practices analyze their claims denials and take action to reduce them. They also closely track accounts receivable.
Compile a list of denials by payer and see why they are happening and take action to minimize them.
Group your accounts receivable and analyze those that fall into different aging groups, such as 30 days and 60 days old to determine the cause. If it’s something you can control, take action so you get paid sooner.
Make sure all claims are filed in a timely manner and that all denials are appealed.
Your billing department should take aggressive action to eliminate all denials and delays, whether from payers or patients, to keep the cash flow positive.
Every contract has its own unique details about requirements for prior authorizations, medical necessity, timely filing, and other details in addition to the reimbursement agreement.
Make sure you and your staff understand the contractual details from each payer to avoid unnecessary denials and payment delays.
Renegotiate your payment rates, especially if you haven’t done so in several years. You may be making less than the market will bear.
Always verify payment compliance and do not assume the payer is always accurate.
Keep patient dollars within your practice whenever possible. You should have a good sense of what services your patients want, and if it’s financially feasible, offer those within your practice instead of referring them elsewhere. This is a convenience for the patient and provides additional revenue for your practice.
Patient communication ties directly to a practice’s finances. Patients need to know what they’re going to be responsible for when they first come into the office.
Make sure patients are informed what part of the payment they will be responsible for and if they can’t pay, how payments will be handled.
Discuss payment plans and other alternatives if they can’t pay so they understand what the options are.
Payment policies need to be communicated to and understood by the staff.
Training should be provided on how to handle collections.
Survey patients on what communication form they prefer: text, phone, portal, or app. Using their preferred method helps keep the communication positive and can speed up payment.
Create an online payment portal to make paying easier.
Demonstrate and have a high-quality mission, vision, and values statement for your organization and commit to customer service training to really create a high morale and a great patient experience.
Dissatisfied employees lead to dissatisfied patients, which can cause them to leave the practice.
Track productivity and patient satisfaction levels to identify problems. Don’t be afraid to move on from employees who aren’t delivering great service or who aren’t contributing enough.
Provide training. Sometimes people fail because they don’t understand how to do their job.
Translate larger organizational goals down to the employee so they understand how their contribution makes a difference.