Streamline Your Denials with One Simple Spreadsheet

By Dawn T. Landry, CPC — Lakeview, FL

We all know how important it is to work our denials in a timely manner. But do we analyze what these denials are telling us? Do we look for patterns in our denials? Every day it seems we open the mail, post our payments, then begin the tedious process of turning these denials back around for payment. We need a tool to be able to stop the denials from happening in the first place. Now, we all know that no matter what we do, the denials will still come; however, we can work smarter with them.

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The tool is called a Denial Tracking Log and if you faithfully complete one for a two- to three-month period, problems will begin to jump out at you. Then you will be able to modify office or coding guidelines to decrease these denials. For example, if you have a lot of denials for no authorization, you can take this up to the front office and show them exactly how many denials you have received and then formulate a solution to eliminate these denials. If you find that Medicare is denying a procedure for invalid ICD-9-CM repeatedly, you can take the log to your billing dept, have them pull an LCD and find the problem and correct it.

The spreadsheet should be simple. List common denial reasons down the spreadsheet (for example, denied for no auth, pt coverage termed, invalid ICD-9-CM, needs notes …) and then list your top 10 insurance companies across the top. As you are working your denials, fill in the spreadsheet with tic marks. This should take only seconds of your time—it does not need to be fancy. After a few months, take a look at it and your top denials will pop out at you.

We should all be able to tell our providers what our top three denials for any given time are, and this simple tool will help you do that!


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