Days in accounts receivable (AR) is the average number of days it takes practice to collect payments due. This metric provides valuable insight into the overall efficiency of your revenue cycle. A lower AR implies faster payment—a necessity in today’s self-pay and high-deductible health plan environment. Physicians need to collect every dollar that’s due to them as quickly as possible. All practices should strive for an average 40-day AR cycle to ensure smooth cash flow and operations.
To determine your average AR, divide your total accounts receivable by your average daily gross charge. Your average daily gross charge is your total gross charges for the past year divided by 365 days.
Timely and accurate Ambulatory Surgical Center Account Receivable billing and collections can have a dramatic impact on the overall success of the ambulatory surgery center.
Below are 5 tips for ambulatory surgery centers to optimize their accounts receivable process:
Ensure That Preadmission Process Is Error-free
It is recommended that you prepare a form with a checklist of items needed to ensure coverage and proper billing.
Do not rely on corrections being made on the back end of the revenue cycle. If you’re billing team has all the proper information before the procedure, your ASC will enjoy quicker payments and no threat of denial due to untimely filing or missed appeal deadlines.
This means attaining the necessary referrals and pre-certifications for the correct procedure and the correct date of services, always obtaining a copy of the patient’s insurance card and making sure your demographics sheet is completely and properly filled out each time the patient visits your ASC.
Tracking the Number of Days Claims Spends in Accounts Receivables
Measuring the number of days it takes to collect on accounts receivable properly tells you if you have an A/R problem. If you suspect that you do, you must look at your internal systems that include timing of billing, post-surgery collections and follow up, prior to surgery collections of copays and deductibles, follow up on denials.
Get More from Patients Upfront
ASCs want to collect more from patients before surgery, which is crucial. The chances of getting paid decrease every day you wait after surgery is performed. Patient collections are getting more important because deductibles are rising. The patient is now paying a larger proportion of the bill. Also, more patients do not have coverage, meaning Ambulatory Surgical Center Account Receivable increasingly have to ask patients for payment of the full bill.
Implement A Policy For Handling The Patients Who Struggle To Pay
An alternative to patients who don’t qualify for charity care but are having difficulty paying their out-of-pocket costs is to offer to finance through a third-party financing company. The cost to the facility is marginal and is easily offset by savings in staff collection costs and the time value of money.
The center will receive payment in full, within two business days wired directly to their bank account. In these situations, the financing company usually assumes all the risk, so the ASC doesn’t suffer if the patient defaults on the payment. In addition, the patient gets a longer period of time to pay their balance interest-free.
Outsourcing Can Be A Good Option
If you are one of those high volume centers may want to outsource. In some situations, it makes sense for high volume surgery centers to outsource billing services because you don’t want to fall behind on collections.
If you are a high volume surgery center and you constantly have dirty claims and you aren’t making headway on your accounts receivable, it’s usually a direct effect of your staff.