To ensure that your otolaryngology practice is getting the best return on its patient payment collections, you should:
Explore this issue:February 2013
A. Use an in-house billing staff.
B. Use an outside billing service.
C. Use an outside service to train your in-house billing staff.
The answer? D—None of the above. If your practice is doing any significant collections from patients after the point of service, you’re significantly behind the times and costing yourself a lot of money. The most effective collections staff in your office isn’t in the billing department; it’s sitting behind your front desk.
One Step Ahead
Today’s otolaryngology practices will be treating more and more patients with an increasingly high level of out-of-pocket responsibility for the cost of their care due to larger copayments, the growing role of coinsurance, higher deductibles and other factors. (See “Patients Pick Up More of the Tab,” below). The best way to collect these payments, experts say, is to do so up front.
“We find that practices are much more successful with their collections if they focus not so much on the back end, but on the front end,” said Cheyenne Brinson, MBA, CPA, a practice management consultant with Chicago-based Karen Zupko and Associates. “For example, a year and a half ago we set up an ENT practice with a number of front-end collection strategies, and their financials are very strong. They have very few patient accounts receivable. Those few are either self-pay patients they’ve agreed to put on a payment plan, or the handful they did not collect payment or deposits from at the time of service—and it was a big lesson to the staff who made that mistake!”