March 25, 2011
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Last week at a local POMAA meeting, I spoke on the topic of generating more revenue for your practice.
Here are just a few of the highlights from that talk:
There are many conventional ways to generate revenue for our practices which involve some of these just to name a few:
- Phone Calling Systems
- Tracking Missed Appointments/No shows
- Increasing fee schedules
- Utilizing wait lists to fill empty slots
- Increasing hours of operation
- Providing comments on statements
- Evaluating paper vs electronic (i.e. statements, collection letters, etc.)
- Collections – Collecting at time of service
- Up-to-date Profiles
- Incentives – PQRI and E-Prescribing
- Adding Products/Equipment/Testing
- Adding Services, (i.e. spa, nutritional guidance, personalized coaching)
- Virtual Visits
- New Patient up-front fees collected to hold appointment
- Concierge medicine
- Alternative and Holistic Medicine
- Decrease Expenses
However, it is a different mindset to emphasize the aspect of being in rapport with our patients and how doing that could bring more revenue to the practice. It is good customer service to be in contact with our clients who in the medical office are considered our patients.
More often than not our patients are getting lots of information from outside the office. There are websites, forums and community networking events that are educating our patients on their conditions. Patients are much more informed today. They have many more questions for the doctor about conditions, alternatives, options, etc.
One of the ways we generate lasting income and build a new patient base for our practice is through more communication. Being in rapport with your patients means we are the source of information, guidance and support for our patients and they are comfortable looking to our medical practice first for answers and assistance. There are many ways you can communicate with patients on a global level and build that know, like and trust factor with them on a continual basis:
- Practice Newsletter – updating patients of events and product specials at your practice. Letting your patients know what is going on right now. Most practice portals today support newsletter capability.
- Email Updates – By capturing emails from patients through an email responder service or through a patient portal you enable the ability to talk with your patients through email and relay messages to them globally of any updates such as time changes, new providers to the practice, etc.
- Webinars/Seminars/Speaking – This is another way by which we can get patients trained and educated. It offers support and provides great customer awareness and service. Is your provider a speaker? Perhaps, he has a book or other protocol to promote. Are you wanting to teach or train from your office and offer this as an added benefit to your patients?
- Social Media – Like it or not, social media is here to stay. People are talking and conversing daily in short brief segments on social media sites. They are sharing. You can share too as a practice. You can learn more about ways to utilize social media here.
- Patient Portals – This provides an excellent way to stay in touch with patients by providing them access to reports, scheduling, registration paperwork, etc. especially when they cannot reach you by phone. Most EHR systems offer this capability now with their system. Some medical facilities even provide Kiosks in the office in order to speed data entry or better yet, utilize a patient check-in tablet that integrates with your practice management system.
Learning what works for you, what to integrate and how to begin implementing the idea is the key to taking action, but first you must know what it is that you want to achieve.
Do you want more customers (patients)?
Do you want to sell more products like vitamins, supplements, creams, etc?
Do you want more rapport and communication with patients?
Do you want to add services to your practice to generate more revenue?
You know how important it is, and I stress this often, that we first must know what it is that we want and then we can work toward making it happen. Decide firstly what your aim is for practice growth, and then put one thing into action toward that decision to move forward.
You can go here to obtain a copy of the audio series on generating more revenue for your practice.
Be Bold and take action toward making your practice revenue more sustainable and lasting in this age of change in the marketplace. Change can be good for us if we are push past our fear and embrace just one new idea.
July 26, 2010
To successfully work your accounts receivable and get more accounts paid in a timely manner, as a responsible practice manager, it is important to implement a system. These tips are a continuation from a previous medical billing post entitled Working Accounts Receivable – Part One.
To recap, last weeks tips:
1. Know what your practice management system can do for you.
2. See Staff As Resources.
Now for this week’s tips:
3. Utilize a Daily Tickler System
You will know more of what to do next if you are creating or utilizing a daily tickler system. Some practice management software systems have built-in ability to use tickler or task systems to keep focused on what must be worked first.
4. Update Insurance Profiles
Your insurance profile or allowables should be up-to-date and current in order to determine both when insurance payments are incorrect and also to determine correct adjusted write-downs. If you are writing down to the expected payment at the time of charge posting (utilizing current profiles), then accounts receivable will be more accurate and true to what is expected from each insurance. You can only do this with current insurance profiles.
5. Implement A Collections System
You will first need to implement an in-house collections process by which you work your accounts receivable within the timeframes of your medical practice policy. Some guidelines on this are:
- Have clear policies on patient collecting processes
- Have approved practice collection letters for patients
- Have approved practice letters for appeals processes to insurance companies
- Have a policy and process in place for utilizing an outside collection agency
6. Utilize Aging Reports To Work Accounts Receivable
Your system aging reports will help you tremendously to determine where to begin working your A/R. You can clearly see from a current aging report those accounts and insurance plans that need the most attention. Guidelines for this are:
- Concentrate your efforts on all aging over 120 days for timely filing issues
- Work highest balances first
- Work insurance groups one at a time
Optimum accounts receivable would have the least amount of your A/R in the last category of greater than 120 days, but if that is not the case for you then you must do what you can to get that oldest aging category down first.
As I was writing this series of blogs, POMAA had a special guest speaker on Accounts Receivable Management, Steven Verno, CMBS, CMSCS, CEMCS, who had some great tips on this subject as well. Some of Steven’s suggestions that I found helpful were:
- Identify an Insurance Company To Work First
- Send Paper Claims to a CEO by certified mail
- File Grievances With Regulatory Agencies & CEO if necessary
Remember, your accounts receivable will not work itself. My last suggestion on this topic is to consider an accounts receivable recoupment agency to assist you with collecting was is due in the event that you cannot collect it yourself.
April 26, 2010
Now that healthcare reform is hitting your practice squarely in the eyes it is important to call upon all resources within your practice. Hopefully you have a Team of resources. Your team could involve employees, other practice managers, outside vendors, and even patients for that matter. Coordinating your team is the effect of collaborating with your team members in order to bring about changes and policies within your practice.
Employee Team Members
It is time to accentuate the positive and keep morale high for the changes to come. Allowing small negative talk to filter through your practice can throw morale into the gutter. Have scheduled meetings with your staff to keep them abreast of changes. Revisit your policies and procedures so that each employee knows the procedures within your practice. If you do not have policies and procedures then get staff to help you write them.
Other Practice Managers
Involve yourself with other Practice Managers. There are national groups now for practice managers such as POMAA, MGMA, each with some local chapters where you can get involved. Make friends with other practice managers and offer to help them in any way. Now is the time for collaboration. Why would you have to reinvent the wheel if someone has already done so? Do not let your pride stand in your way. You may find that there is much to be gained by making acquaintances with others in your field. Utilize social media to stay in touch with trends and changes going on your line of specialty.
Facebook offers many groups that are related to practice management. Here are just a few of them: POMAA, MGMA, PMI, Practice Manager Network Fan Page, and there are many more.
Get collaborative with your outside vendors so that you are readily informed of changes in their industry. Pharmaceutical reps, IT support staff, equipment and medical supply vendors are just a few of the types of support staff that you can use as part of your successful team. Have them inform you of any changes they are aware of and you can do the same with them. Invite them into your practice for demonstrations, etc. to stay up on the latest technology. They may also be aware of webinars and websites that will assist you to stay informed. Take advantage of opportunities to learn from them.
Patients As Team Members
To think of your patients as team members may sound counterproductive, but give it an open mind. You will find that the more your patients are informed, the more they become part of your team. If they know what you are expecting and you appreciate their feedback to you then you can have a great working relationship. This communication with them has the potential to produce loyal paying clients that will refer you to others.
Remember that no one who ever did anything great did it alone. Now is not the time to single out your practice and do it alone. Join forces with others who are like you and want to succeed. Leverage your team to help your practice succeed and you will be doing the same for others.