By Kathy Young
2014 is going to be a year of adventure for those of us in medical billing. It might not be eating bugs and climbing mountains but there will certainly be ups and downs. We have changes in the Medicare Fee Schedule (both increases and decreases) and then we have added costs and challenges like ICD-10 along with healthcare reform. It feels like a disaster waiting to happen. We need to do something beyond shoot, ready, aim. One of my top suggestions is that we keep our patient A/R down as low as possible. Kareo has created some new tools to use like the patient payments online with a fee that is very reasonable.
One thing everyone should do to manage patient payments is to mandate payment at the front desk before the services are performed. Kareo can help you with that too. Utilize the eligibility check for most of your large carriers. You can check eligibility and find out what the copay and deductible are. You will know how much to collect from the patient–at least for the copay. But, some of your billing will go to deductibles and you may want to wait until you hear from the carrier in the EOB. That does delay payment and it can cause a backup in your patient aging. This aging can become large and seemingly unmanageable. In our office we created a procedure that really has helped us to manage our patient aging better.
We set up collection categories. This helps us to place each patient in the category that is appropriate to what we have done on that account. We have categories as follows:
- Automated Payment Reminder
- 3 Delinquency Letter
- Phone Call
- Final Phone Call
- Payment Plan
- Payment Promised
You may have others that you would like to add to your Kareo system. You can do this in Settings>other lists>New Collection Category. Move your patients into this category. You can do this easily by going to the patient and at the bottom of the screen is ‘change collection category’. When you click that option you will have a pull down bar and you can select the new category that you created. This then becomes a reportable feature in your reports.
What is awesome about the report once you have set it up this way is that your patients are now categorized and instead of just being a glob of patients, you can show see the patients you have worked and where they are in your calling system. You will know what patients are moving ever closer to collections.
Certainly we can all dream of no patient A/R. But when you wake up from that dream, you realize you will need to work the patient receivables. While this plan does not save you from having to make ‘the call’ to the patient, it certainly will help you manage your patient collections and manage your accountability to your providers.
For more great tips on how to make the most of your Kareo software, check out Kathy’s last post, Manage Your Rejections More Effectively in Kareo.
About the Author
Kathleen Young is the CEO and co-founder of Resolutions Billing & Consulting, Inc., which was founded in 2003. Kathleen is also the owner of Healthcare Chart Audits, which offers auditing to physicians and attorneys. Kathleen has been in healthcare since 1989 and has worked for physicians, large corporations and three billing companies. Kathleen is a CPC and a CPMA with the American Academy of Professional Coders and speaks to many groups on coding, billing, and auditing.