Make no bones about it (yes, I just did that), the patient revenue cycle can be particularly challenging for orthopedic practices, more so than for many other medical specialties. Common orthopedic treatments and surgeries are some of the most common and expensive procedures out there, leaving many providers searching for a better way to get paid for their work while still remaining sensitive to the payment challenges faced by patients. For this post, we are going to take a closer look at the unique challenges faced by orthopedic practices when it comes to the revenue cycle.
Low, slow, and costly reimbursement
Low and slow is great for your summer BBQ, but no good for patient payment collection. Orthopedic practices are seeing low levels of reimbursement, and very slow collection of outstanding and residual patient balances. The facts are these: 1) More of your practice’s revenue is coming directly from patients than ever before. 2) It’s harder and more expensive to collect from patients than from other payers. By upgrading to an automated patient revenue cycle platform that can assist your in-office team from appointment to final payment, you can decrease the number of hours spent on collection tasks, reduce (or even eliminate) the cost and waste of paper statements, and keep patient payment information on-file for easy payment for after-insurance balances.
You down with DME? (That stuff’s not free!)
Many orthopedic practices provide their patients with durable medical equipment (DME), but are not charging for it properly, sometimes never getting paid for it at all. Kinda ironic when you consider that DME is usually seen to be a great option for practices to boost their revenue. Oops. In order to get DME to work for you rather than against you, it is important to get an advanced beneficiary notice (ABN) signed by the patient at check-in as part of your registration packet. Your staff should also carefully track what you paid the vendor for the equipment and compare it frequently with the payments you are receiving from patients.
Efficient Revenue Collection is a Team Sport
It’s a mistake to allow your billing and collections team to work inside a bubble, with no one else seeing or understanding the day-to-day problems they face. In today’s healthcare landscape where more and more independent practices are being absorbed by large hospitals and healthcare systems, it’s time to “circle the wagons” to support the financial needs of your own practice. All practice staff members (including physicians) can work together to improve patient payment collection, office workflow, and healthcare outcomes. Establish open and honest communication with staff about what is working and what is not, any new initiatives coming up, and what everyone’s role is and should be. Make sure to get those physicians involved too, scheduling regular meetings with a physician liaison to make sure your docs understand what is going on with revenue collection and what to expect going forward.
Too many orthopedic practices are being forced to work themselves to the bone in order to deal with the problem of shrinking revenue due to poor revenue collection measures. Don’t do that anymore! All joking aside, by partnering with a end-to-end solution like Health iPASS, many of your orthopedic-specific revenue concerns will be in your rear-view mirror. We truly care about the success and profitability of your practice. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and check out some of our case studies on orthopedic practices just like yours.