Monitor Your A/R Every 30 Days (or Less)

Best billing practices require a turnaround of no more than 30 days in accounts receivable (A/R). This means you must run revenue reports for your facility at least once per month. This allows staff to quickly work items such as patient balances, insurance balances, and follow up of any denials or appeals the office has submitted. All staff should document their efforts in a similar manner when working monthly reports, so anyone coming behind them knows exactly what has been done with each account.
Reports may reveal a history of problems needing resolution, perhaps based on insurance plan or employer-related problems. For example, a large employer group may not have submitted needed information to their insurance carrier, leaving the patient with inaccurate or no coverage. Or an insurance plan may be slow in adjudicating claims, or have a history of denying claims for an incorrect reason, which may require regular follow up from billing staff.
Ideally, you should assign an administrative staff member to review your reports, and a billing and coding staff member to assist in the review and to provide guidance and details. Such reviews provide a frequent, necessary opportunity to identify specific problems and to design policies and procedures to correct those problems.
Additional items to consider in your A/R are whether the practice accepts auto insurance for accident victims or workman’s compensation for those injured on the job. These types of insurances can cause a relatively inflated A/R if the practice carries these accounts until the insurer resolves all claims. For instance, the practice may elect to see auto accident victims, but require payment at the time of service, and leave it to the patient to obtain reimbursement from the insurer. You should document these types of issues in your financial policy, so that all patients are treated in a consistent and fair manner.

John Verhovshek
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John Verhovshek, MA, CPC, is a contributing editor at AAPC. He has been covering medical coding and billing, healthcare policy, and the business of medicine since 1999. He is an alumnus of York College of Pennsylvania and Clemson University.

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