Medical practices can only be successful with sufficient cash flow to support their efforts. A practice’s finances allow it to maintain the facility, retain its staff, and provide quality medical care. In order to maximize cash flow, practices must make goals and implement strategies that allow them to do so. In this article, we have six suggestions for improving cash flow in your practice.
Before working on managing finances specifically, medical practices can maximize cash flow by making sure they run a tight ship. An efficient practice does not have weak spots or unexplored avenues where money gets lost. Making a practice more efficient requires looking at every element of how the practice operates and pouncing on vulnerabilities.
For example, how is the appointment-setting process handled? Does your practice have a lot of downtime or, on the other side of the scale, long wait times? How do you deal with no-shows and optimize the time left by them? Appointment reminders and flexible scheduling can help minimize these hurdles and can be managed by automated systems.
The processes by which your patients check in or out should be simple and straightforward. Difficult sign-ins can deter patients from staying, and lengthy processes sour the patient experience while eating up precious staff time. Data, from initial sign-in to the appointment itself to signing out, should be collected electronically. This makes data input and retrieval more precise.
For more specific counsel for streamlining your practice, consider consulting organizations that offer utilization management services. An outside perspective on improving efficiency can be tremendously helpful in noting weak areas that need to be addressed as well as practices that work well.
Improve Balance Collections
Coming as a surprise to no one, a key way to maximize cash flow is to improve how the money is collected. Providing a variety of available payment methods helps on the patient end of the billing process. Consider accepting methods such as credit cards, checks, or direct deposits from bank accounts. Offer payment plans and track them. Provide payment reminders through email, text, or your practice’s patient portal.
Verifying payment and insurance coverage before care is provided helps to cover a practice’s bases. Ensure that patient contact and insurance information is up-to-date before they see the physician. A pre-care payment policy, for which any delay in receiving the unpaid bill results in increased total expense, is another option available to medical practices.
Manage Accounts Receivable Properly
Falling directly in line with improving collections, efficient accounts receivable systems help practices maximize cash flow and help patients to stay in the payment loop. Practices should have a well-defined payment collection mechanism in order to achieve revenue targets. Plans should be proactive and flexible to serve the practice’s goals and to provide patients with the peace of mind that comes with knowing they can pay for the treatments they need in an agreed-upon time frame. Again, payment plans can help cater to the time restrictions of both practice and patient.
Offer Quicker Claim Submission Times
Quick insurance turnarounds can help both practice and patients rest easier and maximize cash flow. In order for the transactions to take place, however, the practice must submit claims in a timely manner. Enlisting the help of a billing service can accelerate the process, helping a practice receive reimbursement sooner and therefore maximizing cash flow.
Part of managing the insurance side of payment is having a defined plan for handling denials. Work with your financial department to create strategies to employ in the face of insurance denials or dead claims. This may include outsourcing your medical billing to a third party. Doing so can minimize the risk of misplaced or mismanaged claims and improve your practice’s revenue by 10–20%.
Optimize Patient Accessibility
Payment methods should not be the only area of focus when you look to improve patient accessibility. The very care you provide should be geared toward reaching as many patients as possible. You may choose to bring in members of staff that have specialized experience in order to cater to a specific set of medical conditions, or to open up the kind of treatment platforms you offer, expanding to telehealth venues. Doing so lets you reach more patients and maximize cash flow.
Streamline Your Team
As mentioned at the beginning, the best way to maximize cash flow is to ensure that your practice is a tight ship. In order for that to happen, your employees must understand what is expected of them, so training initiatives should be modeled and implemented with care. It is also important to develop a team dynamic that allows your staff to work together in tandem.
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