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How to Leverage Excel To Drive Revenue Growth

EHR and practice management systems come with built-in reporting capabilities but digesting all that information can be overwhelming. However, leveraging the power of Excel to sort and manipulate the data stored in your EHR can help you spot trends faster and implement steps to improve your bottom line.  Using Excel pivot tables, an interactive tool that allows you to quickly sort, filter, and manipulate data, you can dig deeper into financial reports and zero in on potential problems. In this article published in Physicians Practice, I talked to Nate Moore, CPA, MBA, an independent consultant and coauthor of “Better Data, Better Decisions: Using Intelligence in the Medical Practice,” about how to use this tool to drive revenue growth. Click through to read more.

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5 Tech tools to boost financial performance

Most physicians are already using EHR systems to record patient encounters, track clinical progress, and report on outcomes. But fewer are taking full advantage of them as a tool to improve financial performance, according to practice management experts Lucy Zielinski, vice president of The Camden Group, and Derek Kosiorek, a principal consultant with the Medical Group Management Association. While there are myriad technology features and add-ons that can help optimize workflow and bring in payments, a few are becoming essential to revenue cycle efficiency. They recommend starting at the front desk with these five tools that leverage the capabilities of your system.

Read more at Physicians Practice.com.

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Keep on Top of These 5 Areas to Achieve Your Revenue Goals

Not meeting your revenue goals month after month? According to practice management consultants, it may because you’re not consistently measuring key processes in your business cycle and zeroing in on potential problems.  However, you don’t have to bury yourself in hundreds of reports. Here are 5 key areas to focus on to keep on top of your financials and reverse a cycle of declining revenues. Read More at Physicians Practice.com.

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Revenue Cycle Management: 7 Steps to Improving Patient Collections

Many small and mid-size medical practices are leaving money on the table by failing to develop a strategy for collections, experts say. The most common problem is lack of monitoring and accountability, according to Reed Tinsley, CPA, a Houston-based practice management consultant. You need to collect copays at the time of service and keep on top of overdue accounts. Read more in this article I wrote for Physicians Practice.

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Switching to a Direct Primary Care Medical Practice

Read about family physician Bruce Jung’s transition from staff physician at a community health center in Corbin, KY, to running a solo direct primary care practice. Jung says he’s never enjoyed practicing medicine more since adopting the DPC model, in which doctors typically opt out of working with insurers and charge patients a flat monthly fee for primary care services.  Read more at Physicianspractice.com.

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Becoming a Patient-Centered Medical Home

In 2011, one of Kansas-based St. Luke Medical Group’s major payers approached the 18-office multispecialty group about joining a new quality initiative. The insurer would pay participating practices a monthly per-patient fee for coordinating the care of its members provided that each practice qualified as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH).  Read more at Physicians Practice…

Revenue Cycle Management: Preventing Claim Denials

Preventing denials requires careful documentation but physicians don’t always make the connection between poor documentation and declining revenue. As a result, some offices get stuck in a downward spiral that’s difficult to reverse without a coordinated effort between the front and back office.

Revenue cycle management experts I spoke with had some great tips for reversing that negative trend. Here are 5 worth noting:

Communicate. Physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants should receive frequent, direct feedback about the quality of their documentation. Whether your billing staff is medical revenue cycleon-site or you work with a third-party, you need to know how often and why your claims are denied. Consider having regular staff meetings or online discussions focused on billing and coding.

Test for coding competency. Perform a baseline assessment of providers’ coding skills and repeat it twice a year to make sure everyone is up to speed.

Invest in training. Both newly hired and established providers should undergo regular training and refresher courses on coding and documentation. Remember: poor documentation + inaccurate coding = denied claim (and lost revenue).

Show them the money. Complying with coding audits and attending educational seminars should be tied to financial compensation and/or bonuses.

Use technology. “Scrubber” tools embedded in your practice management system search for coding errors and generate reports on recurrent problems–consult them regularly to avoid repeating common errors.

 

Please see the longer version of this column that I wrote for Physicians Practice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue Cycle Management: The Front Desk

Your first chance to avoid a denied claim happens when a patient walks through your door. It might start with seemingly inconsequential errors, like leaving one letter out of a patient’s name, but those small mistakes get compounded as they move through the coding and billing process. Down the road, that one missed letter could end up costing hours of precious staff time and significant delays in getting reimbursed for that visit.

The key is making sure your front medical office revenue cyclestaff is well-trained and prepared to gather all necessary information before, during, and after the visit. That means being diligent about verifying insurance coverage and becoming familiar with different policies in order to educate patients.

Consider these tips for avoiding front-end mistakes that can cost you down the road:

Verify insurance in advance. Ask the patient about their insurance coverage when you schedule the visit, follow up several days before their appointment, and re-confirm  when they arrive in the office. Double check their phone number, address, and other personal information.

Follow up on errors. Coding and billing staff should alert staff at the front desk about any frequent errors that are causing denials so they can modify their procedures accordingly.

Be clear about costs. A cost estimating tool integrated into your practice management system can generate a quick estimate of patients’ financial responsibilities for upcoming services or procedures. These are often available through insurers.

Talk to patients. Knowing the details of a patient’s visit upfront will help you schedule it appropriately. For billing purposes, keep preventive services, such as a mammogram, separate from procedural visits, such as skin tag removal.

Think of time as money. Front desk mistakes, however small, aren’t just annoyances because they ca lead to multiple delays. When a denied claim arrives, someone has to spend time investigating the reason, correcting the error, and resubmitting the claim. And if it takes longer than 90 days, that money could be lost for good.

For more information, check out a a longer version of this column that I wrote for Physicians Practice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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