Positioning Your Practice for Success After COVID-19

By Teri Thurston, PECAA Billing & Coding Advisor

The coming weeks and maybe months will be unlike any we have operated in before. Most of you have already begun to take the necessary steps for your business to survive this period. There is an old saying that will continue to ring true: “Cash is king.” Practices that have cash reserves or access to cash will be well positioned to survive and once again thrive in the near-future. Your PECAA Member Business Advisors will be working hard over the coming weeks to lay out ideas and strategies for your business to position yourselves in a way that will help you get back on your feet once the COVID-19 outbreak dies down. Our first in this series is on accounts receivable collection.

Accounts receivable is the lifeblood of the practice, and it’s now more true than ever. Most practices had a very strong January and February, followed by what will end up being a weak March and beyond. That means large Cost ofGoods bills for all of those January and February sales, with declining revenue coming in. Efficient accounts receivable collection will help collect the revenue due to you and provide some of the cash flow needed for you to handle bills in the coming months. We encourage you to take a look at the strategies below to ensure cash is being collected as quickly as possible.

Accounts Receivable Strategy

First Step: 

Now is the time to capture as much outstanding revenue as possible. Look for the “low hanging fruit” first, including claims approaching timely filing losses, before diving into more complex claim issues requiring more time.

  1. Make sure all claims have been submitted to insurance payers (e.g., vision, medical and secondary claims)
  2. Send out any patient statements that have not yet been generated
  3. Post any outstanding payments (e.g., insurance and patient)
  4. Correct and resubmit denials. Starting first with the simpler denials caused by registration error, modifier issues, claim rejections (clearinghouse), etc.
  5. Stuck on a denial? Reach out to billing@pecaa.com for assistance, the billing & coding team is here to help.

Insurance Aging:

  • Review your insurance accounts receivables reports, noting the outstanding claims in each aging brackets.
  • Review all outstanding claims in detail, starting with the 120+ aging brackets first and work towards 31 days
  • If there are a large number of claims to work through, it may be easier and more efficient to work through the AR by individual insurance payer. Working all outstanding claims over 31 days for that specific payer before moving to the next.
  • Review in detail any outstanding vision claims over 31.
  • Review timely filing issues if any (Aetna, Cigna, UHC all have a 90-day timely filing period)
  • Submit all secondary claims
  • Make correction on all claim rejection/returns through the clearinghouse. Remember your clearinghouse is a great tool when working your denials!
  • Insurance companies may be short staffed or working limited hours so utilize the websites as much as possible. Hold times may be even longer during this crisis.
  • Think long term; as you are looking through your claim denials, think prevention of future denials. Note, where can you add “safety nets” so after the crisis you can hit the ground running and not continue duplicating the same errors.

   Patient Aging:

  • Review your patient accounts receivables reports, noting the outstanding claims in each aging brackets
  • Review all patient accounts 0-30 days, generate and mail or submit statements. Now may be the time to be creative in the options available for patients to pay their balances. It may be difficult for them to get to the post-office or mailboxes in some cases. Find “friendly” avenues to allow for patients to pay.
  • Review all patient accounts 31 – 60 days – this should be the second statement that has gone out. You may want to email or call patients with larger balances. There should be less patients accounts than 0-30 days, so calls may be an option. Use as a “check-in” and let patients know what is happening within your practice if they should need you during the crisis.
  • 61 -90 days these patients should be called or notified in some way other than the normal paper statement. A handwritten note or sticker on the statement maybe affective.
  • All accounts 91 days should be sent delinquent letters and sent to collections after specified time allowance outline in your financial agreement.

If you do not know where to begin, the PECAA Billing & Coding Team can help by providing a Free AR Assessment to determine your best opportunities and how to prioritize these opportunities.

Account Receivable Analysis Inquiry

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