Finish Strong: Make 2012 the Most Profitable Year for Your Medical Practice, Part I

Kathy McCoy, MBA September 27th, 2012

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Expert Karen Zupko advises how to make 2012 the most profitable year for your medical practice

Do you know where your practice is today compared to last year in terms of patient volume, charges, collections and adjustments?

These were the opening questions during Finish Strong: Make 2012 Your Most Profitable Year, a webinar sponsored by Kareo. The webinar was presented by Karen Zupko, a leading medical practice management consultant with teams of experts working with physician practices across the country. If you’re like many practices, answers to those opening questions prove elusive at times, maybe even falling off your radarscope. But Karen made the excellent point that you cannot manage what you can’t measure, and getting a handle on important metrics is the first step in making 2012 your most profitable year ever. Our blog here from her webinar will cover the first part of her presentation. Check back tomorrow for our blog covering the second half of Karen’s webinar.

To finish the year strong, Karen suggests that you create and update a dashboard for your practice that gives a single-screen snapshot of your most important metrics. These include days in accounts receivables, charges, collections, payment velocity and more.

Expert Karen Zupko advises using dashboards such as Kareo's to manage your medical practice metrics

Some software systems, like Kareo, have built-in dashboards that populate the data on a real time basis. Karen also suggests that you breakdowns your accounts receivables by the number of days in AR, such as 30 days or less, 31-60 days, 61-90 days and over 120 days. Most practices want the majority of their AR to fall in the 30 days or less category, but there are fluctuations that occur in part by the specialty of your practice. Because the likelihood of bringing in reimbursement falls off the longer it goes uncollected, it is important to determine if this trend is hampering your cash flow. Karen offered several strategies to address this in the remaining months of 2012.

Once you have created your dashboard and analyzed the trends, it is important to set goals to address any weaknesses you have identified. Be concrete when discussing them with your staff. For instance, instead of stating that the practice needs to collect more money, set a goal of improving point-of-service collections by 15 percent over the next month. Review the targets and progress on a regular basis.

Practices also need to be sure they know the contracted allowables for reimbursement by payors. Many insurance companies allow you to load your top 20 billed CPT codes to get the accurate contracted rate. Be sure you load those correct rates into your billing system. Some software will flag any discrepancies if payments do not match the contracted rates.

In order to maximize collections from both patients and insurance companies, it is essential to check eligibility , benefits and current deductible amounts prior to a patient’s appointment.  Know what the patient owes and remind them.

To see archived recordings of this and our other webinars, visit our Resource Center.

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