Enhancing revenue and controlling expenses should be a financial focus of every medical practice. Improving operational efficiencies can help bring a practice closer to optimal performance. Here are some ways you can maximize your medical or dental practice’s revenue stream and reduce costs without sacrificing patient care.
Keep Coding Current
Coding errors are all too common. Simple errors can end up costing medical practices money as well as time to rectify mistakes. Delays or denied claims may translate into reduced reimbursements, which, in turn, affect cash flow.
To minimize coding errors, you need to identify the cause of the problem. Typically, miscodes are due to under-coding to avoid penalty risk, using outdated data, or leaving coding decisions to inexperienced support staff. Periodic assessments of your practice’s coding accuracy can help uncover problem areas. These assessments could include a review of your practice’s forms and a comparison of billing codes with the actual services that were provided.
Maintaining updated coding manuals and software, keeping a code reference summary handy in exam rooms, and using online coding resources can help your practice attain a more accurate coding rate. So too will making notes during each patient visit. Be sure to have your staff attend refresher courses to help them stay current with coding practices.
Improve Employee Productivity
Eliminating inefficiencies and boosting employee productivity can directly benefit your practice’s bottom line. Try these approaches to improving the productivity of your practice:
- Define productivity goals and offer incentives to your staff for reaching those goals.
- Delegate administrative functions so that physicians spend the greater part of their day seeing patients.
- Maximize physician and medical assistant billable time by planning patient flow carefully.
Better Control of Staff Time
Are your overtime expenses increasing from quarter to quarter? While some overtime is unavoidable, a consistent rise in overtime hours deserves some scrutiny. Review the payroll records of your non-exempt employees to determine who worked overtime and why. Was your practice fully staffed and simply busy or was it short one or more employees on the days when the overtime occurred? If overtime was necessary because you were short-staffed, see if this was due to vacations or some other controllable situation. It may be time to revise your practice’s policy on vacation time if scheduled time off was the cause of the overtime.
Update Fee Schedules
If your practice hasn’t raised fees in some time, you may want to consider appropriate increases. Just be aware that some patients may be resistant to fee increases and could switch to another provider. In addition, take a look at the reimbursement rates of all the plans you participate in. Run the numbers to determine whether it makes financial sense to continue accepting patients from some of the plans that reimburse poorly.
Medical and office supplies make up a portion of a practice’s expenses. Yet, some practices rarely shop around for more competitive prices. You can control expenses by becoming a smarter shopper. Pick some of your practice’s “high-volume” items and find out how much other vendors are charging. Use that information to negotiate lower prices with your current suppliers, consolidate orders with fewer vendors, or switch to new suppliers to save money.
We Can Help
We can work with you to identify areas in your practice where streamlining operations may help optimize your healthcare practice’s bottom line. For a confidential consultation with a CIG Capital Advisors medical practice advisor, email Brian Lasher.