February 11, 2015
Patient collections may not be in the list of top priorities of a podiatrist’s mind. It should actually be because there is no other non-clinical activity that takes an action for getting paid for the rendered services by podiatrists. With the increasing payable amounts by patients in the form of deductibles, copays etc. and the resultant increase in providers’ responsibilities, the collection challenge has gone up.
Podiatry Industry Facts
The podiatry industry is pegged at five billion dollars
The growth rate of industry is slated to increase at the rate of two percent
Podiatry will see an increase in demand with the advent of healthcare reforms
Increase in aging population will increase ailments like diabetes
Fee Schedule outlines Patient Payments
Podiatrists need to intensify their collection efforts because it’s their hard earned money. It would be imprudent to think that since insurance covers the bill, lagging payments from the patients’ side is fine. One needs to understand that the fee schedule is not what the insurer pays you but it’s what you are allowed to collect. Hence, providers need to collect a good amount of the bill from the patients. Podiatrists should make patient collection a critical priority to ensure the revenue potential of the practice is met.
The patient billing cycle begins at the time of registration. Providers need to submit the complete and accurate claims form to the appropriate insurance companies and also for sending the patient statement to the correct patient addresses. A failure in the process of gathering and maintaining this information leads to inaccuracy and unmet timelines which are absolutely essential for successful billing and collections. Correcting addresses in databases and managing the claims denials take a lot of time and this unsavory folly is avoidable; it just needs to be done correctly the first time round.
Train and Instruct the Billing Team
There are many practices that heavily rely on the hospital’s administration team for maintaining the patient records. In such scenario, it is essential to let the hospital administrators know the importance of capturing the patient registration data correctly and on time. In the event when the hospital personnel and policies change, the podiatrists’ needs may be overlooked. It is necessary to train the medical staff in handling patient information with diligence and that any lax on their part will lead to loss of revenue for the practice. Monthly denial reports and frequent meetings with the hospital staff might help in addressing this issue.
Collect Payments Upfront
At outpatient imaging centers, things get a bit tricky as they need to collect payments from the patients at the time of service. It becomes important to explain the patients the details of the amount charged and then ask for the payment confidently. If a patient cannot pay the fees upfront, he should be given different options for making the payment and also be asked when he could pay. It is advisable to hand out and send electronic statements to patients so that they know their outstanding balances.
A practice might take time to implement these techniques immediately and to begin the collections process phone calls can come to the rescue. It would do well for podiatrists to get in touch with billing companies like MedicalBillersandCoders.com for assessing their practice’s revenue cycle management. Their team of trained and experienced staff has been serving medical practices to streamline RCM, boost revenue by providing timely, accurate medical billing services and conducting diligent payment collection follow-ups.