Maintaining a healthcare center can be quite costly. For those in charge of revenue management for medical practices, it can be a task to make sure all cylinders are functioning and a healthy flow of revenue is constant. This can be an obstacle for general health practitioners, but for surgery centers, revenue cycle management becomes even more complex. With special coding regulations in place specifically for surgical services and increased interaction with outside parties, the surgery center billing process creates a unique set of circumstances that only a surgery center can appreciate. Although there are many ways to cut costs in order to ensure the financial health of your surgery center, there are also things you can do within the medical billing process to contribute to the overall health and wellness of your practice. Here are 5 tips to maximize surgery center billing.
Manage Billing Turnaround Time
One of the general guidelines we advise is to send claims the same day charges are entered. If there is any time difference between when charges are entered and claims are sent, it can point to a larger problem that should be resolved within your billing department or significant delays in receiving payment for your services. As a general rule of thumb charges should be entered two to five days after a service has been rendered.
Identify Coding Issues Before it Becomes a Problem
We also advise surgery centers to conduct routine audits using an outside coding company. Audits can help you identify your weakest link so that you can resolve the problem before it causes anymore damage. Audits also provide accountability to your billing department in such a way that creates incentive to prioritize accuracy. This is another reason we recommend using an outside coding company to conduct the audit in order to avoid conflicts of interest. Your audits should return results above 90 percent accuracy. Some of the most common discrepancies found during audits are differences between what was performed during a procedure and what was dictated. Routine audits can ensure the quality of your coding to maximize speedy payments for the procedures you perform.
Assemble Detailed Patient Charts
It is very important to master comprehensive patient charts for all patients to ensure accurate coding and billing. Every patient chart should include patient identification, insurance identification, insurance verification, insurance authorization, all medical records, and any payment agreements that have been made. This information should be readily accessible to the staff in charge of coding. Coders often need to reference this information in order to dictate accurate codes for billing procedures.
Don’t Forget To Post Payments
Payment posting should be performed in a timely manner. This is an area in which you can experience unnecessarily long delays if not attended to properly. We strongly advise making daily payment posting a priority. Billing professionals should always review explanation of benefits for each patient and procedure in order to identify any potential problems early on in the process. It’s also equally important that the payment process is always in motion whether it needs to be posted to the insurance or to the patient.
Communication With Patients
Communication is key! It’s important to keep the lines of communication open with your patients from the moment they first enter your business until the very last payment has been made relating to their procedure. Arming your patients with knowledge every step of the way will help keep them in the loop in terms of their own health and as it relates to what they see on their bills. It’s not easy to decipher a medical bill and patients are quick to contest something they don’t understand. Therefore, ensuring that your staff is available to explain what’s on a bill and making sure they stay in contact with the patients until a bill is paid, will contribute positively to the overall revenue cycle.
These are just a few of our tips to maximize your surgery center billing. To find out more about how we can help your surgery center save money and manage the health of your revenue cycle, contact us. We provide free demonstrations and would be happy to help get your revenue cycle functioning at a high quality level.