Keep Your Practice Healthy
by Melody Irvine, CPC, CPMA, CPC-I, CEMC
Just like a healthy balance of diet, exercise and other factors keeps you healthy, there is a balance of things you can do to keep your practice healthy. Eclipsed by outside pressures, internal issues often go unnoticed, and can leave practices feeling financially out-of-sorts. Here are some tips that will help your practice remain healthy and strong
- Adhere to a security triangle. The same person should not be opening the mail, handling cash and deposits, and posting money and performing write offs. In smaller practices this is sometimes harder to maintain but can be solved with attention to details.
- Simplify your systems and perform an audit of billing and coding. It does not need to be an overwhelming process, and once an auditing program is started it becomes simple to keep up.
- Review billing and coding reports regularly. Then present a summary to physicians or other administrators depending on your practice layout. Even if it is not a requirement in your practice, presenting reports holds everyone accountable.
- Set up guidelines for billing staff. Guidelines help make sense out of payer policies and the contracting process. Make sure both your billing staff and those with whom you contract perform the duties as assigned.
- Set up policies for write-offs. Make sure management approves all write-offs. Staff members allowed to perform write-offs or adjustments should also maintain separate categories for items or services needing adjustment. This will help your practice prepare for future needs, identifying any issues, and revise services needing updating.
- Make the most of your practice management system. Set up allowable payments for each health plan you are contracted with to ensure you are receiving proper payment. Most systems allow you to set up alerts that notify you when the payment being posted doesn’t match what is received; once set up, this is easy to maintain, and it keeps you informed.