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Cash may be king, but cash flow is the power behind the throne.

Submitted Friday, March 17th 2017 11:16 am by Paul Andres
in  cash flow    self-pay    rcm    revenue cycle    billing  

A friend of mine says, “Money isn’t the key to happiness, but if you have enough money, you can get a key made!”  That’s not really true, of course, but inconsistent cash flow can really mess with your peace of mind.  Here are a few thoughts for normalizing your revenue stream.

  1. Keep the pipeline filled.  You would be surprised at how often providers lament to me about how hard they have been working with seemingly little reward in the form of increased remittance.  Often, a review of charges by DOS reveals a window of increased service volume that is short-lived when viewed in the context of several months.  Consistent service volume is especially important if your billing office is doing a good job.  If your days outstanding indicator is under 35, even a small interruption in charge volume can negatively affect your cash in just a few short weeks.

  2. Stabilize your revenue cycle by billing every day.  Second to uneven service volume, uneven billing is consistent cash flow’s enemy.  Failure to bill regularly is like managing diabetes by alternately fasting and eating cake.  Your average A1C might look fine, but you’re not getting any healthier. 

  3. Don’t ignore self-pay balances.  Time was when practices could count on insurance payments to provide sufficient income to keep things running smoothly – or at least afloat.  Those days are gone.  High deductibles and co-insurance amounts, the fact that so few individuals actually budget for healthcare expenses, and the growing sentiment among so many that healthcare should be free is the perfect storm for growing patient responsible balances and out of control A/R.  Investigate ways to make paying for services easier, such as credit card payments, patient credit, e-statements and on-line bill pay.  For more on this subject, check out, “Higher Deductibles and Co-pays Make Patient Payments Critical.”

  4. Follow up on unpaid claims.  Most billing offices can get a claim out the door.  Unfortunately, shaking the trees and picking up the easy fruit is all too common practice.  Good follow up and denials management can be the difference between only covering costs and being truly successful.  If consistent follow up isn’t happening in your business office, consider outsourcing your RCM needs.

  5. Stay on top of your KPIs.  Know how long it really takes to turn a service into a claim, and a claim into dollars.  Find out your successful claims acceptance rate.  Keep a close eye on your days outstanding.  We measure and develop systems for things we really care about.  Doing the same for your A/R can pay great dividends.

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