In part one of this blog post we covered two common reasons that small practices may not be earning all the revenue they should from patient care they provide—inadequate payment collection processes, and improper coding. Here are three more ways practices could be losing money.
A biggest problem for small practices, especially those with internal billing staff, is not following up on denied claims. Around 30 percent of initial claims are denied by CMS, and anywhere from 50% to 65% percent of those are never resubmitted. Claims can be denied for a wide variety of reasons, such as incorrect patient data (misspelled name or wrong birth date), coding errors, incorrect or missing documentation, or failure to get pre-approval required by the payer. Inexperienced billing staff may not know how to fill out claims correctly or may not know how to follow up when a claim is denied. Overwhelmed staff, or lack of proper reporting and tracking in accounts receivable, may also result in missed appeal deadlines. All these things leave revenue on the table.
Another place that many practices lose revenue is missed appointments. While you may never be able to eliminate no-shows completely, the more missed appointments you have on average, the worse it is for your practice finances (not to mention the potential negative consequence for your patients’ health when they miss critical appointments). One of the easiest ways to cut down significantly on patient no-shows is with a good text and email reminder system.
These systems alert patients of an upcoming appointment and can provide multiple reminders leading up to the appointment to allow adequate time to reschedule if needed. In addition, you can add electronic check-in links so patients can fill out intake forms before they arrive, speeding up your check-in process, protecting patient privacy (patients won’t have to answer questions about personal health information in a crowded waiting room) and freeing up staff time to help with other tasks around the office.
Scheduling is critical to practice success, but inefficient scheduling could be harming your bottom line. One of the biggest challenges is setting the appropriate appointment length. If you schedule appointments for too long, you can’t fit in as many patients each day. If you don’t schedule them for long enough, you end up with long wait times and frustrated patients. Many practices find an electronic scheduling system that allows you to customize different appointment lengths for different reasons can help streamline the process. In addition, using effective tracking and reporting tools integrated with your EHR that help predict how long each appointment takes on average can provide insight into where your scheduling could improve.
If your practice is experiencing these issues and you think you could be losing money, talk to us today to learn how our tools can improve efficiency and boost your revenues.