Carol A. Wilcox
PREFERRED Therapy Providers, Inc.
Every business has areas where they can improve profitability and healthcare practices are no exception. With higher deductible health plans, increasing operational costs and burdensome administrative requirements, finding ways to streamline efficiencies is crucial to the success of a practice regardless of size.
In this article, we have outlined 5 ways to boost your practice profitability. These are simple strategies that you can implement in your practice right now with minimal time and expense:
Collect patient balances and co-pays – Avoid the cost of mailing invoices to patients for unpaid balances or making collection calls. According to this resource, patients are more likely to ignore a paper invoice than when confronted with a balance at their scheduled appointment by a friendly staff member. Offering convenient payment options including online, credit card and installment payments will help to increase cash flow. Patient co-pays make up approximately 20% of practice revenue. Implement a staff policy to collect payment at the time of service.
Verify patient insurance – Train your office staff to verify insurance at each patient office visit. Health plans have a variety of co-pays and deductibles so verification is an important step. Knowing what is covered by insurance and what the patient is responsible for prior to treatment will eliminate the need to attempt to collect payment after the patient has left the clinic.
Send in claims promptly – Claims to payers should be submitted at least weekly. Waiting until the end of the month (or longer) to submit claims can seriously reduce practice profitability, especially if a percentage of claims are denied and need to be resubmitted. Not only are you losing profits, you’re increasing administrative staff expenses when claims are returned as unpaid and must be appealed.
Minimizing missed appointments – Implementing (and enforcing) a fee-based cancellation policy will help reduce the number of missed appointments and late cancellations in your practice. If you think the cost of missed appointments is a minimal expense, try adding up all the missed or cancelled appointments your practice has each month to determine exactly how much revenue you’re losing. You might be shocked.
Adjust your office hours – If your practice is only open when most of your patients are at work, there’s a good chance that they’ll look to other providers who can accommodate their busy schedules. That’s leaving precious money on the table for your practice profitability. Check out the office hours of some of your competition and consider adjusting your clinic hours by offering Saturday morning or early evening appointments.
About the Author:
Carol A. Wilcox is the staff writer and head of marketing communications at PREFERRED Therapy Providers, Inc. You can reach Carol here.
This article is brought to you by PREFERRED Therapy Providers Inc. PREFERRED is the nation’s leading payor management services network. Our expertise is working with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices – from single clinics to multiple clinic locations.