Revenue | Understanding Practice Cashflow
Can Dr. Ben stay on top of his practice’s revenue stream – and help his patients to manage their health care costs – without accurate and customizable reports?
Dr. Ben walked out of a treatment room whistling, feeling great about the session. His patient, Ryan, had come a very long way since the car accident and was actually going to return to work the following week. But he stopped cold when he saw Luisa sitting at her desk with her head in her hands.
“What’s wrong, Luisa?” asked Dr. Ben with concern.
“I know that I’m pretty good with numbers but some days I can’t make heads or tails of where our finances stand!” Luisa said bitterly.
“Tell me what happened and let’s see if we can talk this out,” encouraged Dr. Ben.
Luisa explained how frustrated she was with the insurance reimbursement process. Since they were still generating reports by hand, she never felt as though she had control of financial matters. Some insurance claims were dragging out for months and, without being sure of when reimbursements might come, she was having difficulty budgeting – or at least budgeting confidently – for other office expenses.
“I was positive that the claims for Christine Jackson and that handsome young teacher, John Santos, would have come through by now, so I went ahead and began the process of purchasing a new copy machine,” explained Luisa. “You know how frustrated Pam gets when you ask her to copy home care instructions for new patients. But the claim hasn’t come through and we’ve got other major expenses coming down the pike. I just don’t feel like I’ve got a handle on our finances at all.”
Dr. Ben was quite troubled to hear this. The practice was in good financial shape but she had never imagined that tracking insurance reimbursements might cause such trouble for Teresa, who worked so hard to keep the practice’s financial status pinpointed precisely.
“Well, don’t you know by now how long each insurance company’s accounts receivable window is?” questioned Dr. Ben.
“It’s just not that simple!” said Luisa, exasperated. “We accept more so many different types of insurance, and each of those companies has plans with various levels of coverage. Plus, you know that some companies are just a lot less helpful than others, so even the smallest error in the treatment code or a line left blank can hold the process back for weeks!”
Dr. Ben thought about that for a minute. It really was unfair to expect Luisa to track all of these things manually.
“The worst thing is that some of our patients are really struggling to pay their bills but, by the time they really understand what their care plan might cost, it’s almost too late for us to even try and help work things out for them,” Luisa finished.
The two looked at each other uncomfortably, Dr. Ben’s satisfaction in his recent treatment session forgotten. He wished he could simply focus on what he loved to do – to help people feel better – instead of worrying about administrative issues. And he hated to see Luisa so upset.
Might there be a solution to the insurance reimbursement issue at Dr. Ben’s practice?
Disclaimer: For HIPAA compliance, all characters appearing in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.