The portion of your revenue that must come from patient collections has skyrocketed. If you haven't mastered patient collections, you risk losing more of your practice's earned revenue than ever before. But -- on the plus side -- there are more new ways to tackle this problem than ever before. I've got a new, free webinar on June 9 that shares some of the ways you can collect more while actually improving your patient relationships. To sign up, just visit this link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/351571408146784258 We'll have time for questions, and you'll even get to learn about some exciting new technologies. I hope you can join us!
The portion of your revenue that must come from patient collections has dramatically increased over the past decade. And higher copays and deductibles aren’t going away – in fact, they’re becoming the standard. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study determined that average deductibles for patients on employer-sponsored plans have more than doubled, and now average more $1,200 per year. Collecting effectively from patients has gotten harder, and not doing it well has gotten more costly. That’s the bad news. But there’s good news, too! Best patient collection practices are emerging – and technology vendors are stepping up their game, too. And when you collect more effectively from patients, you can simultaneously improve your bottom line (without adding more patients or visits!) and even solidify your patient relationships. I've got a new, free webinar on June 9 that shares some of the ways you can collect more while actually improving your patient relationships. To sign up, just visit this link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/351571408146784258 We'll have time for questions, and you'll even get to learn about some exciting new technologies. I hope you can join us!
The deductible reset is looming in January, and it's poised to wreak its usual havoc with cash flow. Cash-flow impact could easily be even worse this year, given that deductibles have likely increased and become more of a problem for many of your patients. Naturally, alerting patients to the possibility that they will be responsible for a significant portion or even all of their service costs at the time of booking is a necessary first step -- as is ensuring that front desk staff are trained on taking payments at the time of service. But, if you are a primary care practice or other specialty that offers preventive services, there's one more thing you can do to protect your cash flow: you can identify patients who are due or overdue for preventive services, and encourage them to book during Q1. Because services identified as preventive by the Affordable Care Act almost always* carry no patient financial responsibility (not even copay), patients may be more eager to use these services -- especially if they've recently started paying for coverage and haven't perceived much value for their premiums. Annual/scheduled preventive care can be a win-win for patients and practices. The revenue is often higher than a standard office visit, and it's usually reimbursed promptly. Reaching out to patients to remind them about preventive care is a way to communicate that you care about them. And, you'll be giving them good news about their health plans -- some patients may not realize that they can get a preventive service such as an annual well-adult exam, screening colonoscopy or mammogram without cost-sharing. One caveat: be sure that patients understand that some lab tests your physicians may want to utilize may not be covered. Patients also need to know they'll be responsible for their normal portion of costs if a visit scheduled as 'preventive' actually turns out to be a problem-oriented visit. And it's always a good idea to remind them that these payment terms are part of their health plan and the ACA -- not the whims of your practice. *grandfathered plans may be
I just got around to watching the episode of The Profit focused on A.Stein Meats. Now, you may be wondering why on earth I'd be posting about a meat business here -- what could that have to do with medical practice management? Well, The Profit deals with a variety of small businesses, and there are often take-aways that apply to almost any business, but the A.Stein Meats episode really hit some notes that are so important for managing the business side of a physician practice -- especially the under-appreciated perils of poor management of accounts receivable. When Marcus Lemonis arrives at A.Stein Meats, he learns that the 75-year-old company is losing $400,000 per year -- despite $50MM in annual revenue. He's initially confused about how the company's expenses could be exceeding their revenues. But he soon figures out that the biggest missing piece lies in the back office: accounts receivable. The office manager -- who nominated the business for the show -- reveals that the receivables are more than $4MM. And Lemonis quickly notes, many are so old, they'll likely never be collected. The owners, meanwhile, seem almost unaware of why they should be concerned about accumulating A/R -- after all, they're just trying to "work with" customers, many of whom are "friends." But, as the old saying goes, with friends like that, who needs enemies? The business's inattention to collecting the money they're owed was putting their solvency at risk; revenue is almost irrelevant if it isn't realized as cash coming into the business promptly. Moreover, the business was essentially financing its customers -- without getting paid to do so. Lemonis stated clearly, "we are not a bank" -- the same message we give our medical practice clients when they're too quick to say, "sure, we'll bill you" instead of asking patients for a credit card at the time of service, or a credit card on-file for procedures that need to be paid for over time. Medical practices are perhaps a bit luckier than a business like A.Stein Meats in that insurance payments still usually provide the biggest portion