Financial stability and profitability is becoming a rising concern for all medical practitioners with the ongoing changes that the healthcare industry is experiencing. Increased patient walk-ins, reduced Medicare reimbursements, declining collections and coding complexities are making bottom lines diminish for many medical practices. In such a bleak industry atmosphere, internists are facing the toughest of all times due to the diverse services offered by them.
Internal medicine practitioners offer the first and foremost diagnosis for most medical conditions and in addition to providing basic treatments, they refer majority of their patients to specialists for further medical care. This increases the dependence of an internist on other practitioners and thereby complicates the billing procedures tremendously. However, efficient billing and coding practices can not only improve profitability but also enhance patient care provided by internal medicine practices.
To ascertain profitable operations, internal medicine practitioners must adhere to billing practices that establish a healthy Revenue Cycle Management System. These would entail –
- EHR integration – The basic and most recurrent source of error is related to data entry and can be a cause of revenue loss at many later stages. Integration of EHR with your existing billing processes can minimize data errors and facilitate patient record keeping. It would also mean lesser queries and rejections from carriers at claim filing stage
- HIPAA compliance medical coding changes – Compliance failure and incorrect medical coding doesn’t only mean rejected claims but can also attract government penalties. For an internal medicine practice this becomes an even more crucial aspect of billing because of the wide range of medical services offered to patients. There is no limit to the medical treatments, tests, procedures, physical conditions or specific diseases serviced by an internist. Hence, constant vigilance is important with regards to the coding changes happening regularly. Also preparing staff and system to meet compliance standards would avoid audit related hassles and costs
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- Claims tracking and management – Monitoring the outgoing bill statements and incoming queries related to claim applications can help you identify the existing gaps in your billing practice. Timely response and remedying the erroneous steps in the billing process can ensure future first pass claim resolution and bring down claim rejection or denial rate
- Fee Schedule analysis and realignment – Aligning fee schedules as per changing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement practices will reduce payment cycles and maintain short term revenue streams required for smooth functioning of the practice
- Accounts follow up and collection management – In addition to public and private insurers, patient billing is also an important aspect of internal medicine. Therefore, account follow up and tracking collections from carrier and patients on a regular basis can ensure steady revenues and strengthen bottom line of the practice
- Payers mix management – Given the declining reimbursement rates of Medicare and stricter payout policies followed by private carriers, determining your best payers and screening out bad revenue channels would improve your current and future profitability
With the complex billing practices and dedicated administrative support required for internal medicine, in-house billing may not always prove beneficial for your practice. An expert billing service provider like medicalbillersandcoders.com can become an excellent partner for your practice and help you set up an efficient billing and coding system compliant with rules and regulations of the industry.