Optimize patient billing and facilitate better cash flowFinancial viability is one thing, but specialty practices that efficiently utilize front-office resources can do more than just maintain financial health: they can thrive.

But first, they need to overcome some of the core billing and collection challenges inhibiting cash flow in today's healthcare climate. These include:

  • High-deductible healthcare plans (HDHP): The percentage of Americans participating in HDHPs has risen sharply in the past few years according to FierceHealthcare. Larger out-of-pocket payments that aren’t collected at the time of service can increase collection times and lead to longer medical billing cycles.
  • Patients aren't paying their bills: Fewer patients are paying their entire medical bill, possibly stemming from HDHPs. Also, medical billing processes generally do a better job of accommodating large payouts from insurers rather than thousands of payouts from individual patients, according to The Tennessean.
  • Cumbersome payment options: Consumers have moved in a big way to paying bills online in just about every industry… except healthcare, that is, where online payment options can still be fairly unusual. In a world where patients are paying more than ever before, practices shouldn’t make it difficult to do so.

Fortunately, dealing with these challenges is not nearly as daunting as it may seem on the surface. Better cash flow begins and ends with better front-office operations that encourage on-time patient payments and use of innovative methods to facilitate collection at or before the time of service. Equally important is the need for practices to leverage cutting-edge practice management solutions (PM) and revenue cycle management (RCM) resources to track financial health and identify areas for improvement.

Help Patients Understand Billing Obligations

The majority of American patients do not understand their health insurance, according to a recent nationwide survey conducted by PolicyGenius.

What's more, the higher the out-of-pocket payments becomes, the less likely it is that the patient will ever pay his or her balance. On average, less than 30% of patients pay off bills with balances less than $500, according to a study by the Healthcare Financial Management Association. (The study suggests that, by 2020, the rate of patients not paying their bills in full will rise to 95%.) Similar studies note that specialty practices are at a slight advantage because most patients tend to expect higher bills for specialized care. But even then, it takes them five months on average to collect just 60 percent of large patient balances.

It's crucial, then, that front-desk staff has the means to perform eligibility verification prior to appointments and generate an accurate and up-to-date patient cost estimation. This can reduce the number of denied claims that would otherwise send a patient bill to collections.

At a minimum, accurate patient estimations will help patients know how much they owe before services are rendered, which can alleviate sticker shock and reduce the odds of a bill going to collections. A cutting-edge practice management solution that provides an online patient payment portal, front-desk staff can take this one step further, and actually pre-bill a patient, giving them the option to cover a balance prior to a visit.

Last but not least, front-desk staff can encourage patients to keep a credit card on file for automatic billing. This can be saved into the PM when a patient is in the office. In addition to simplifying patient payments, this effort can actually improve overall patient flow and free up front-desk staff to focus on other tasks, since they'll no longer need to collect payment at the time of service or retroactively send out medical bills. Instead, they can focus on other functions such as scheduling and customer service to improve operational efficiency and enhance the overall patient experience.

Empower Your Front Desk Staff with AllMeds Practice ManagerAllMeds RCM for Your Practice

AllMeds Practice Manager utilizes key features such as an accurate Patient Cost Estimator and AllMeds QuickPAY™, which makes it easier for patients to cover their portion of the medical bill, reducing charge lag days and ultimately improve cash flow for your specialty practice. AllMeds' Practice Manager gives your practice everything it needs to thrive in today's challenging healthcare climate. Learn more about how AllMeds can help your practice, here.

Sources:

https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/payer/new-cdc-research-shows-rise-high-deductible-health-plans-employer-based-coverage

https://www.policygenius.com/health-insurance/learn/health-insurance-literacy-survey/

https://newsroom.transunion.com/patients-may-be-the-new-payers-but-two-in-three-do-not-pay-their-hospital-bills-in-full

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Optimize patient billing and facilitate better cash flow

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AllMeds Specialty Practice Services

Optimize patient billing and facilitate better cash flow

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AllMeds EHR PM RCM

Optimize patient billing and facilitate better cash flow

AllMeds RCM for Your Practice

AllMeds Specialty Practice Services

Optimize patient billing and facilitate better cash flow

AllMeds RCM for Your Practice

AllMeds Specialty Practice Services