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Keeping the troops in line

03 Sep 2014, Posted by Ericca Vaca in Uncategorized

Stay up to date on industry-related changes.

If there’s one piece of advice I can offer to healthcare business offices that will forever be relevant, it’s that—know what standards, rules and expectations are current for your line of work.

But of course there’s more than that to consider when managing a billing department. You and your team are responsible for a rather inordinate amount of detail work, which means obstacles and errors are bound to arise.
But in2itive and I are here to keep you on the ball—here are some pro tips.

Beware: Common Business Office Obstacles

The first challenge for any business office is finding the right staff, since just about everyone on board will have to manage numerous important tasks. Generally speaking, the best approach is to hire people with a strong background in ASC billing—fill the business office with people who know what’s happening and can communicate with your facility’s leaders.

Assuming you already have your staff in place, you now have to watch out for policy and process. This is something that should be nailed down early and revisited often to ensure that everyone is aligned and working toward a similar set of goals. Part of establishing process is knowing your office’s key performance indicators; again, this is something that should be established early and checked often.

And another note on staff—keep in mind that business offices are typically full of varied personality types. While coders tend to be reserved perfectionists, revenue cycle managers are more outgoing and certainly more outspoken. Make sure leaders know how to communicate with both. Because you definitely need both.

Prepare & Manage: Keeping Process In Place

You know there’s a lot to keep track of in a billing office. When in2itive aligns with a new client that’s struggling to stay ahead, we look at several key areas. Whether or not you’re working with us, here are several tasks and processes to pay attention to when you’re looking for areas to improve:
Insurance Verification: This should be done every time, with every patient.

Collect Payment Upfront: Your facility is best served if you collect patient payment at or before time of service. If this is problematic for your team, ask in2itive about their Patient Estimator Tool.

Compliant Coding: Healthcare coding is always evolving and requires a keen eye for detail; ensure your coders are adhering to best practices, including use of modifiers, and are verifying all medical record documents and operative notes.

Verify Contract Rates: Contract rates may apply to your own facility’s charges, third party vendor charges or implant providers. Regardless, make sure your team is using up to date contract rates and that accurate numbers are loaded into your patient accounting system.
Be Timely: Regarding billing, account follow up and payment posting, ensure that your team is adhering to set timelines and always acting in a timely manner.

Denial Trending: This brings inconsistencies, errors and payor issues to light quickly and lets you give them proper attention right away.
Now you know what you should be paying attention to in your business office and what obstacles to look out for. But of equal importance in management and organization is the ability to maintain order once it’s established—coming up in part two of “Keeping the Troops in Line”

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