When it comes to successful anesthesiology billing, it’s important to collect every bit of revenue possible. Even one missed or overlooked case can result in losing hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars of revenue. And given the high caseload many anesthesiologists face, overlooking a case now and then happens more than you’d think.
Avoiding lost revenue is why practices create reconciliation processes. Here, we’ll discuss how you can create a better reconciliation process to maximize revenue collection.
Common Reconciliation Problems
One problem that causes difficulty with maximizing revenue is how records are stored.
Most practices use a combination of paper and electronic recording. In a practice where there is just one patient and one insurer, this isn’t that big of a problem. But that situation doesn’t exist. In reality, practices have potentially hundreds of patients with several different insurers.
As a result, mixed record-keeping can cause difficulty – and much of it comes from having a paper-based billing process.
Another problem comes with lacking a standardized process to make sure what happens in the OR is communicated properly to the billing team – and is then communicated to the insurer. This is like playing the telephone game. Whenever multiple groups are involved, missteps can be made.
Finally, there is usually inadequate software – or sometimes no software at all – to keep track of patient care from the beginning of care through the final payment from the insurer.
Tips for a Better Process
Solving these problems isn’t impossible. There are steps a practice can take to incorporate reconciliation into an anesthesiology billing process.
Standardize with Electronic Billing
Moving to electronic billing can alleviate inconsistency and misplaced paperwork. It’s easier to track and document what has and hasn’t been paid if you eschew paper and move to electronic records. While it’s probably not possible to become completely paperless, most practices can greatly reduce their paper usage by going electronic.
Reconciliation – especially with cash payments – isn’t something you can do on a monthly basis, or even a weekly basis. It has to happen daily.
Create daily reconciliation processes that handle: 1.) payments from that day, then 2.) payments outstanding from the previous day. On a weekly basis, it’s appropriate to look at any outstanding payments from the previous week (and do the same on a monthly basis). Daily reconciliation will help you keep ahead of the curve so that nothing slips through the cracks.
Keep Track of Aging Claims
Some claims can take up to a year to be paid by a payer. And generally speaking, the older a claim, the more unlikely it is that it’ll be paid – the more likely it is that the practice will forget about it. Be aware of aging claims. Develop a system to monitor claims as they age from the date they are filed, from 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 120 days, and beyond. Take action steps at each of these marks to at least stay aware of what is owed.
Outsource Anesthesiology Billing
Developing a reconciliation process can be difficult if your practice hasn’t previously done so. Outsourcing your anesthesiology billing to a third-party provider can alleviate a lot of the burden of having to keep track of often-complex billing – and can decrease your A/R.