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Increasing Accounts Receivable

Doctor Stop Losing Money - 6 Ways to Stop the Bleeding

Are you thinking about increasing accounts receivable in your medical practice?  Are you one of those doctors who thinks that if you want more money you need to see more patients? The reality is that you just need to get paid for ALL of the patients that you are already seeing.

Many doctors make the mistake of only watching what comes in and not what is going out. They look at the bottom line, and if the bottom line is not high enough, then they figure they need to see more patients. If they are truly interested in increasing accounts receivable, what they really need to look at is how much of what they are billing out is coming back in. It isn't possible to collect 100% of what you bill out, but you should be collecting 95% or better. (I'm not talking about contractual adjustments. I'm talking about the amounts that you are legally entitled to collect.

The following are some of the most common ways that doctor's offices lose money and what you can do to stop it from happening in your office:

1. According to a local insurance company, the number one way that doctors lose money is by not collecting copays, co-insurance, and/or deductibles. These are the amounts that are due directly from the patients.

If you do not have a good system in place for billing your patients, then you are probably losing more money than you realize.

First of all, copays SHOULD BE collected at the time of service. If a patient cannot pay the copay at the time of service, (or they forget their checkbook, etc.) then your staff should give them a pre-addressed envelope when they leave so that they can mail it in when they get home. If you don't receive the copay within 10 days, the patient should be billed.

Co-insurance and deductibles usually cannot be billed until the EOB is received from the insurance company since the amount varies. As soon as the EOB is received a bill should be sent out to the patient with an explanation as to what the bill is for.

Bottom line, patients with balances need to be billed regularly. If they do not respond to the bills, appropriate action needs to be taken.

2. The number two way in which doctors lose money is due to non-covered services. The services may be non-covered because they are a contract exclusion, or they may be non-covered due to the way that they were billed. In any case, if the insurance doesn't pay, many times the doctor ends up writing off the charges.

One way to cut down on denials for non-covered services is to make sure that you have experienced people in charge of your billing. If you have an experienced biller it will cut down on incorrect denials due to billing errors.

If it is a true contract exclusion then the patient should be notified prior to the services being performed so that they can arrange for payment. The biller should know before the services are submitted that the insurance company does not cover them.

For four more ideas in increasing accounts receivable
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