Optimize Scheduling to Improve Practice Returns
If things at your practice feel like they’re falling off the rails – you’re overly busy and understaffed, your denial rate is soaring, your revenue is stagnating – the unlikely culprit may be sitting on the counter at the front desk. Your appointment book (or online appointment calendar) could be the source of all of your problems.
Scheduling is an aspect of practice management in which even the savviest medical office professionals get sloppy. It’s easy to fall into seemingly innocuous routines and patterns that, upon review, harm more than they hurt. If you’re not auditing and reviewing your scheduling processes regularly, there’s undoubtedly room for improvement at your practice.
Sit down with your top two or three appointment bookers and look back at your weekly schedules for the past six months with a critical eye. See how you can optimize operations by streamlining your schedule in each of the following areas.
Revisiting Eligibility Checks: Are You Doing Them Wrong?
We can’t stress it enough: checking a patient’s insurance in advance of each and every encounter is the number one way to avoid medical billing issues. So why do so many practices neglect them?
To be fair, few medical offices skip eligibility checks altogether: Almost every practice conducts an insurance check before seeing a new patient, and plenty of offices utilize technology systems that automatically verify insurance as part of the revenue cycle management process.
Yet the majority of medical practices occupy a ‘gray area’ when it comes to eligibility checks –
Is Your Practice at Risk for a Payer Audit?
Even if everyone at your practice loves surprises, there’s one surprise that’s unwelcome: a payer audit. Being audited by Medicare or another government payer is a top fear of many medical practices… one that almost always feels like a threat.
Payer audits are intimidating because so few practitioners and medical practice managers understand their origins. Armed with just a baseline understanding of the trigger factors (too much high-level coding; overuse or misuse of modifiers), some practices over-correct to avoid issues. But by deliberately undercoding encounters to avoid attracting unwanted payer attention, those medical practices are selling themselves short.
One way to lessen the odds of an audit is to contract with a medical billing company. A medical billing firm with the resources, detailed practice management knowledge, and capacity to manage all of your claims can help you spot audit-inducing issues before they happen. If that’s not an option for you, it’s important for your team to assess whether it’s at risk and to course-correct as necessary. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know.