A survey conducted by the Medical Group Management Association (“MGMA”) found that 60% of medical practices have experienced a decrease in patient volume and a 55% decrease in revenue since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The pandemic has introduced a new dynamic that practices haven’t had to contend with in the past – fear of the unknown. This fear is driving patients to cancel or postpone visits and in general disengage with your practice. The question becomes: how can your practice keep revenue stream flowing in an environment where patients are too afraid to come to your office? Thankfully, there are several steps practices can take today to help with revenue generation.
Telemedicine: A Proven Choice
If you are not using telemedicine in your practice today, you are leaving revenue on the table. It’s that simple. Relaxed regulations are opening new ways for practices to connect with patients while minimizing risks. Telehealth can be used for anything from COVID screening, to chronic care management, to well visits and check-ins. And all of these are billable visits.
There are several telehealth platforms on the market that are easy to set up and easy to implement, allowing you to roll out a telehealth strategy in days, sometimes hours. eMDs advises our customers to use a HIPAA-compliant, secure telehealth technology to protect your practice from security risks. The key to prolonged success is to not create any habits or use technology that could cause HIPAA compliance trouble post-COVID.
Bottom line: Telemedicine can help you create a stable revenue stream. To read more on this, check out our blog post.
Don’t Forget the Fundamentals of Practice Revenue Flow
A crisis shouldn’t mean that you abandon ship on basic business best practices. The fundamentals are even more important than ever to managing a healthy revenue stream.
Check Insurance Eligibility
As a best practice, your office should be checking insurance eligibility before every visit. This is even more important in a time of crisis. Your number one goal is to treat your patient, but, close behind is making sure you get reimbursed for those visits.
With the rise in high deductible and cost-sharing insurance plans, more and more patients are required to make payments at the time of service. It’s likely that many of these patients haven’t hit their plan limits yet and will owe an amount at the time of service. Use the information provided by the patient’s insurance provider during the eligibility check, as well as your practice’s contracted rates, to calculate an estimate for your patients.
Eligibility checks will also confirm coverage meaning you will be paid by insurance carriers for your visits.
Implement Electronic Payment Solutions to Help With Practice Revenue Flow
If you are planning on introducing or ramping up telemedicine visits you need a way to bill and collect for those visits. By leveraging an electronic payment solution, you can:
- Send ebills to your patients pre- or post-visit via email with secure links to make payments online.
- Require your patients to place a credit card-on-file when setting up the appointment. After the appointment, simply access the card-on-file and process the payment.
- Set up a payment plan for larger balances or for patients that are suffering financially. Most electronic payment solutions allow you to set a payment plan for any amount and any time frame, then it automatically collects it for you.
For those patients still coming into the office, electronic payment and billing options create a safer environment for the patient and front office staff. Many businesses outside of healthcare are considering “touchless” payment solutions for the pandemic and beyond.
Submit Bills Daily
Keep your cashflow consistent by submitting your bills daily. eMDs recommends that your charge entry and billing should take no more than 24 hours. This keeps billing flowing smoothly and revenue coming into the practice.
Simply put: the faster you bill, the faster you get paid.
Working Your Denials Helps Practice Revenue Flow
A slower office schedule frees up time to work your denials. Take this opportunity to work down your denials list. By reworking and resubmitting these claims, you can bring in new revenue you weren’t initially expecting.
Take the opportunity to also identify trends in your denials. If there is a common mistake, create an alert or workflow that prevents those errors in future billings.
Enter Your Fee Schedule
Making yearly updates to your fee schedule is one of the most important things a practice can do to ensure you are collecting the correct amount for your visits. However, this task is often overlooked and pushed to the side until there is more time to address it. Now is the perfect time to get your schedule updated. Outdated fee schedules could mean you are missing out on revenue.
Reorganize Your Office Schedule
Patients still need healthcare during the pandemic. For those patients that can’t be treated via telehealth (perhaps they need shots or treatments) create a safe environment for them to come into your office. Rework your schedule to have “Well Days” dedicated to treating healthy patients. During those days, the practice will not treat sick patients. Additionally, you can create separate areas of your practice that treat sick and healthy patients to minimize exposure and risk.
Connect with Your Patients
Lastly, connect with your patients. Keep them informed of what your office is doing so they remain engaged. Perhaps they don’t know that you offer telehealth services or that it is safe to come into the office. If you don’t let them know, how will they find out?
- Coordinate a patient outreach program with your front office staff. It can be a simple check-in call to see how the patient is doing and letting them know that you are open for business.
- Update your website and social media channels regularly with any updates or changes.
- Leverage patient engagement tools to send messages on demand via email, text or SMS.
By making some simple adjustments to the way you practice medicine, you can keep your revenue flowing and set your practice up for further success in a post-COVID world.