Tracking the Variables | Show Me the Money II
Chiropractic Clinic Owner Must Address Billing and Payment Delays
What variables affect how quickly Ben gets paid?
“Why don’t you talk to a practice management coach?” asked Carmen, Ben’s wife. “A change in your daily workflow might help you with your chiropractic billing issues.”Ben really needed some professional advice, but wasn’t sure whose expertise he could trust. He scheduled a meeting at his clinic after hours with the profitability coach, Steve, who had helped his friend, Tom, improve his practice cash flow.
“Is there a way to figure out what I am doing wrong?” Ben asked after he had given Steve a brief overview of his dilemma. “I am not even sure anymore whether or not my current practice workflow is ineffective or harmful. My payments fluctuate although my practice stays busy.”
“Just remember, you’re trained in chiropractic, not business management,” Steve said. “So, don’t beat yourself up over this. The truth is, that you depend on insurance companies for a major part of your revenue and they know how to make it complicated. Without a powerful tool, like chiropractic software, it is almost impossible to figure out what is going on.”
Ben took a moment to digest Steve’s comment and asked, “So, it’s not entirely my fault then, right?
“That’s right,” Steve responded while flashing a supportive smile. “It’s usually a combination of factors. And trust me, you are not the only chiropractor struggling with his billing performance.”
“That’s a relief,” Ben said. “What should I do?”
Steve took a deep breath and said, “Now, don’t get overwhelmed. But the best way to get to the bottom of this is by tracking and analyzing multiple variables of your billing performance. Time, for example, is definitely an issue. Since your chances of getting paid for a claim decrease by one percent with each passing day, you need to find out how each variable affects your claims process.”
“That does sound complicated,” Ben said flatly. “How am I supposed to track all that and help my patients?”
“Let’s look at it from a chiropractic perspective,” Steve offered. “Take a man who hurts his back, for example. What can happen if he doesn’t seek treatment immediately?”
Ben pondered the scenario for a moment. “Without knowing the nature of his injury, I would assume that it can affect his gait. Once he starts overcompensating it will naturally lead to more problems than he started out with.”
“Now apply the same line of thinking to your chiropractic billing issues,” Steve said, excitedly. “This kind of domino effect can cause a new all-time low for your billing performance month after month when an error is not corrected since it ends up affecting multiple claims.”
“Oh, now I get it,” Ben said. “So, once I discover which aspects of my workflow cause payment delays or denials, I can make the necessary changes to improve my chiropractic billing performance.”
“Precisely,” Steve said. “And then you can build your dream practice.”
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