It seems like change is everywhere these days and how to address these changes are at the forefront with physicians and their practice administrators. Sometimes however we need to remember the simple things. What will really drive the financial security of a physician practice now and in the future, whether aligned with a hospital, in a large multi-specialty practice or a lone physician practice is accounts receivables. Physicians have purchased sophisticated software that has touted we can manage accounts almost hands free and yet the biggest question every health care CEO is asking is where's the money?
Getting back to the basics of credits and debits…….managing accounts, not simply working claims in a queue is what is called for. We need to invest in training of competent persons to understand and think while looking at accounts and bringing them to a zero balance. We need to actively work and analyze the hundreds of reports we now have access to and breakdown those numbers to a clear and straightforward strategic plan to predict and ensure cash flow.
"Change" is here to stay, and clearly more change is inevitable. How we plan for and incorporate change will make or break many practices. Regardless of the changes coming, how we cost effectively and accurately produce charges and manage the denial/payment of those charges will continue to be the single most important dynamic on the business side of every health care practice. The business of health care has driven health care for many years and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
So get back to basics, control aging of AR, learn the carrier rules and live by them. Analyze reports, trend denials, clean up AR and hire people who are passionate about accuracy and strategic thinking. Practice accountability at every level that compels excellence. Communicate with practices what's working and what's not working, treat patients like valued customers who will return not only because they have received excellent care, but also because the billing of their visits has been done accurately, timely and efficiently.
While technology provides us with great tools to use, we need people who understand AR and have the capacity to use technology to work smarter.