New Year's Resolutions for Better Billing
The end of the year is a great time to reflect on all of your successes and strengths, and identify any weaknesses and room for improvement in the next year. New Year's Resolutions for your private practice can be a powerful tool in growing your business. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 resolutions that you can make as a mental health professional specifically related to billing, since that’s our forte!
Collect New Insurance Info From Every Patient
The new year is the time to make sure that you have complete and accurate insurance information on file for every patient. Many patients may have updated plans at the start of the year, or perhaps you’re missing a copy of their insurance card. Having the most information that you possibly can about a patient’s insurance information can help you start off strong when it comes to billing. Eligibility and benefit checks are easier to complete, you and the patient can have a better understanding of what is owed by the patient and what is covered by insurance, and it will be much easier to complete and submit claims using the information on the insurance card. Starting fresh in the new year can help you to keep better and more accurate records as well if you don’t yet have a good system in place for storing this information. Now is the time to establish a rhythm and stick with it!
Review Your Aging Report and Be Realistic
At the end of the year, it’s a good time to review your aging report to see where you are at, and what you can expect for the start of the year. If you need more information on what an aging report is and what it means, you can review this previous blog post. In particular, it’s good to look at the aging amounts over 120 days. If there are any claims that have not been submitted that are over a year old, it is likely that they are beyond the timely filing limit. Realistically, collecting on those is unlikely and you can work on cleaning up old claims so that your aging report is more accurate and realistic going into the new year. While looking at your aging report, you can also get a good snapshot of future incoming revenue. A word of caution that when you are looking at the numbers on the aging report it reflects the amount that claims have been submitted for, not necessarily the amount that the insurance company will pay. In order to get a more accurate picture of incoming revenue, you can look at the number of outstanding claims for each insurance company and multiply it by the contracted rate for each respective insurance company. This can allow you to forecast and plan for the upcoming months, and you can make this a regular monthly practice throughout the new year.
Organize Your Paperwork and Files
If stacks of papers in no particular order and digital files thrown haphazardly on your computer desktop sounds familiar, it may be time to get organized! There are a few different categories of paperwork that we consider to be of the highest importance: patient paperwork, insurance contracts and information, and portal login information.
For patient paperwork, you can utilize the capabilities of your EHR for most of your information storing. The benefits of using your EHR are that the information is password protected, everything can be stored in one place, and for cloud based systems you are able to access the information anywhere. Some EHR systems allow you to upload files to a patient profile, or you can transfer information directly into the fields available to you for a patient profile. Getting all of this information organized and complete can help in the billing process because you no longer need to hunt down information.
Insurance contracts should have been sent to you upon credentialing with an insurance company, but if you find that you have any contracts missing you can request them from the insurance company to have a copy on file. We recommend having a file for each insurance company that you are credentialed with. The most important information that you should have in each folder is the contract, the fee schedule, and then any information that is sent to you throughout the year from the insurance company. In addition to keeping documents organized, we recommend also organizing your inbox with one folder for each insurance company and sorting the emails into each folder as they come in so that you can reference information sent out by the insurance company.
Set Aside Admin Time
We know that your schedule can get pretty full pretty easily as a therapist. You want to help as many people as possible, and it can feel like you have very little time for everything else that goes into running your practice. Building regular time into your schedule for administrative tasks can help you to complete the tasks that may otherwise be set aside such as completing notes so that you can submit claims, actual claim submission and follow up, and developing processes for your practice that you can use to keep things running smoothly. If you treat this time like an appointment with a patient, it can help you in committing to yourself and your practice, and can set you up for success in the new year.
Evaluate Your Strengths: Is it time to outsource?
We all have strengths and weaknesses, and the new year is a great time to reflect on those strengths and weaknesses and make choices to emphasize our strengths and confront our weaknesses. One of the best ways to confront weakness is to invest in an expert. If organization is not your strong suit, it may be worth hiring an administrative assistant to help with things such as patient data upkeep, appointment scheduling, and other general tasks for your practice. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the number of sessions, it could be time to expand your practice and bring on another clinician. If you are experiencing issues with claim denials and rejections, or if you are having a hard time keeping up with submitting claims for sessions, it may be time to invest in a billing expert who can take on those tasks for you and help resolve any issues. This is our specialty, and the reason that Practice Solutions exists. Our team of billing specialists are experienced and passionate about billing, and our goal is to free up your time so that you can focus on your practice. If you’re interested in learning more, you can contact us on our website, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 734-437-9432.