Building with the BIG Legos Set
So last week I shared my love of Legos and for a while the simple Lego building blocks were entertaining and fed my architectural desire. Then came the advertisement for the Star Wars Millennium Falcon Legos set, entailing almost 1300 pieces, it beckoned me to overlook the hefty price tag with the battle cry to “Build, Build!”
Such is the shared vision when new medical practice partners are maneuvering their first year of ownership. Sadly, as with my giant Legos set, physicians often find that with their zest to pursue the greater adventures of outfitting the medical practice with the latest technology and operations management, the bricks have changed. The parts are more expansive, more complex and much more expensive. But by understanding the new building pieces of your set and carefully following the instructions, your medical practice can be soaring the dynamic heights of profitable revenues.
Unique Building Pieces
IT Infrastructure – The BIG Gray Pieces
When initially seeking to set up your practice’s Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure, it is imperative to have the best pieces to meet your operation network’s needs. This complicated mid-structure encompasses your computing hardware, software (patient information, operations, billing and scheduling), network resources and personnel support. Choosing the wrong building pieces for any one part along the way, no matter considered how small, can end up hurting your practice growth.
In choosing your technology it is highly advisable to discuss your medical practice’s needs with a consultant in the field. A consultant has the expertise to know which systems are the best for your practice area and will also have knowledge of the latest industry trends. In addition, a consultant can run blocker for you with the IT software sales teams, freeing up valuable practioner time by letting you know which platforms will build up your operation and which will not meet your needs.
Having the right pieces will do you no good if you do not have the instruction manual. Patient and billing coding is very much the ops manual for your practice. Without your coding process being fully optimized your structure can go no further.
ICD-10 (International Statistical Classification of Diseases’ 10th rev. to the patient care diagnosis coding used by all U.S. healthcare systems) now has 120,000 detailed CPT codes required to be used for patient care information and billing needs.
Much like using the wrong building pieces, your practice will be stuck in an endless loop of patient information and billing errors, incorrect (and denied) insurance claims and un-recouped revenues. An expertly trained staff and intuitive coding platform will assure that your coding is optimized to function seamlessly; meeting your practice’s needs and resulting in increased patent satisfaction with less payment lag time.
Revenue Cycle Management
Losing the best pieces of your set can greatly affect the outcome of your build. With patient coding errors, antiquated billing processes and untrained staff, poor revenue cycle management can quickly place your practice in financial jeopardy.
The average cost of patient statements is $3 per statement with most patients receiving three statements before they pay. That is a cost of $9 per patient, taking three to four months to collect the balance. The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) estimates that after all costs are included the cost of collections for the average practice is 14-16%.
Instituting a good Revenue Cycle Management Program will assure that your blocks fit together tightly and that your practice’s financial section is strong.
Handling Patient Balances and Good Patient Engagement
Handling the pieces of your Lego set with care is critical, the last thing anyone needs is to find a loose piece in the middle of the night with their foot. The same is true with handling patients.
In order for a medical practice to strive and place the final brick to the masterpiece, it needs patients to be happy, communicating and consistently paying their balances. A good operations process assures that patients are engaged and communicating with their care providers regularly. That appointments are scheduled accurately and allow for the greatest practice flow. And finally, that patients are aware of their fees and that balances are ALWAYS paid both at the time of service (co-pays) and through foolproof insurance billing optimized to meet a 90% payment rate at the time of check-in.
Once you have fully taken ownership of the building blocks of your medical practice you will stand strong both in patient care and financial health. Fully built with a strong IT Infrastructure, Optimized Coding, a good Revenue Cycle Management program with successful Patient Engagement and Balance processes, your medical practice will move forward from being the lone Millennium Falcon to the flagship of your giant Legos arsenal.
If you need expert advisement on solidifying your practice’s building blocks turn to the experts at Medical Consultants Group, the builders of your future.