Accounts Receivable Financial Management
Some medical practices inevitably fall behind their accounts receivable (A/R) financial management. After all, there are often more pressing issues at hand, and the reconciling A/R work will always be there. Here is the problem: By the time you get time to address the issue, you could be looking at a mountain of backlogged A/R, and staring at a balance sheet that is askew due to the uncollected money the practice has sitting in limbo.
If you’re behind on your accounts receivable financial management, use this advice to catch up, and get the medical practice’s books back to a state of balance.
Perform Chart Prep Ahead of Time
For practices that are behind on A/R, I recommend that you do chart prep a day or two before each patient’s scheduled appointment.
Performing chart prep that early might take some extra planning, but it will give you adequate time to review past due balances and any insurance denials that require the patient’s assistance to resolve.
Once you have performed the chart prep, your practice must be ready to collect money or any needed information when the patient presents for check-in. The best time to reconcile a patient’s A/R is when the patient is in your practice seeking further treatment; once they make it out your door, they lose all incentive to comply.
As a preemptive strike against long-term A/R headaches, I recommend implementing a credit-card-on- file program so that any future balances can be collected as soon as you receive the insurance response; this is the best way to ensure that patient A/R does not continue to grow.
Review A/R On Regular Basis
In addition to getting chart preps done ahead of time, the practice administrator should conduct a quarterly review of the practice’s accounts receivable. This might seem like a tedious task, you owe it to the practice to make sure your A/R lines up with insurance company totals. During these reviews, however, you might discover A/R anomalies with certain payers, such as:
- Demographics entry issues,
- Differences in claim requirements among different insurers and
- Potential administrative glitches causing A/R issues.
In order for maximum effectiveness, the practice administrator should perform these A/R reviews. For larger practices, interim reviews should be conducted by the business office manager. You might have other staff work the line items on an A/R report, but after that, you’ll need someone high enough up that they can make policy decisions based on how the A/R issues connect with the rest of the practice’s concerns.
Your physician practices needs a leader with the ability to implement across-the-board improvements [that] must have an understanding of what’s working and what’s not. Once you get that leader’s A/R analysis, you can strategize to solve the A/R problems once and for all.