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Medical Billing: One of these weak links affecting your practice.

September 11, 2012

Healthcare Provider

Effective medical billing is most crucial to run a timely, patient centric and result oriented medical office. In today’s fast changing healthcare environment not all healthcare providers are successful in their billing methods and this is perhaps the reason why many clinics suffer financially. Here are five factors that may affect your billing: 

1. Patient Relationship Management

Patient relationship management enables the health care provider to design health care programs that identify the needs of the patient. Putting a patient relationship management system in place that implements patient care arrangements, health services that are efficient, health data and billing all under one system is vital. Having a good system to facilitate patient relationship management is therefore essential. The doctor or clinic manager can review EHR data also known as Electronic Health Records and come up with a strategy that will develop the clinic’s billing process. 

2. Staff Team Work

Team work amongst medical staff plays a major role in how well billing is conducted. They facilitate the medical coding and billing process by discussing payment options and procedures with patients. Medical employees play a big role in the billing process and failure to have team work by all staff in the clinic will definitely affect the billing process. A good way to encourage team work and improve on the billing process is to come up a revenue flow chart that involves all staff and doctors. The flow chart should describe the cycle involved in earning revenue and this includes collecting payment of the service rendered as well as billing for co-insurance and deductible amounts. Once all members of staff are able to understand the process and their roles, proper billing is easy to accomplish. Employees are at a position to communicate with patients in an effective manner and also provide detailed and clear statements. The summary must be easy for the patient to understand and may even be translated to the patient’s native language for those who are not very conversant with English.

3. Task Management

Lack of proper task management could also affect medical billing. A good way to implement a task management system that is efficient and sustainable is by first employing competent and qualified staff. The medical staff must communicate in an effective manner and understand your practice. Create a set of tasks for all employees so that everyone knows what is expected of them, in simpler words, give work descriptions. The task management system works to make sure that all regulations are followed when billing for medical services.

4. Visit Documentation

Documentation of medical records is important. Initial visit, repeat procedures, consultants and many other factors are important in determining the billing amount. If a clinic doesn’t have adequate records then it is possible that the billing process will be inaccurate and some services will go unpaid. Streamlining how your clinic’s record keeping is conducted is the key to ensuring that your billing process is up to date and efficient. Technology has proved to be quite helpful when it comes to facilitating the billing process. Medical coding and the entire billing process can be done online or using coding software. The practice may also free doctors’ hands from this process and concentrate on providing medical services by outsourcing the service to a company that deals with coding and billing.

5. Cash Flow Management (Billing)

This is perhaps one of the major challenges in managing medical practices. While it may seem as simple as providing health care services then collecting payment for the service, this process is much more complicated. A lot of paperwork is required from insurance claims to deductibles. Unless your staff is trained accordingly, inefficiency in billing is bound to arise. So how do you improve on this? Well there are various methods one can use. For starters, you will need to establish a system that will help improve on the existing cash flow management system in place. Communication is also important and patients should be given a payment policy that is clear. Co-payment and payment collection is more effective if done at the time of the medical service.

Managing a medical practice involves a lot of planning so as to ensure financial stability. Billing in the medical profession would be easy if all one had to do was pay cash at the end of the service. However, the billing process is not that simple and should therefore be streamlined. At the end of the day, it is the medical billing process that sustains the hospital.


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