Physicians and other medical care professionals spend years studying, training and preparing themselves to provide best possible care to their patients. In many instances, these professionals spend the bulk of their attention and energy on treating their patients and meeting the day-to-day challenges that come with providing the best care possible. Unfortunately, practicing in today’s economic climate within a medical industry undergoing a vast transformation has forced many medical professionals to place equal value on business issues that effect their practice. Often times, the business of operating a medical practice is never discussed in medical school. Instead, many healthcare professionals are forced to learn fundamental business principles on the fly in private practice. With the emergence of electronic medical records and coding, many healthcare providers and practices are spending a substantial amount of time concentrating on the business of healthcare in addition to patient care. Of all the business issues that must now be prioritized by the medical industry, medical billing and managing account receivables can bear the most burden of all.
It was recently estimated that physicians nationwide write off nearly $125 billion in accounts receivables each year in connection with failure to implement the most current medical billing rules and regulations. The second mistake which most contributes to this lost revenue stems from billing errors and anemic collection efforts. These internal shortfalls, coupled with changing insurance reimbursement structures can create significant delays for reimbursement. In the worst cases, insurance companies may refuse reimbursement at all, resulting in a large increase of write-offs. Overall, this data supports a compelling argument that business operations and billing issues are growing nearly as important as patient care for long-term sustainability in the medical industry market place. With regulations governing medical billing constantly changing such as those enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; physicians and administrators are spending considerable time and resources on training staff and implementing new software to assist them in managing their accounts receivables. These added costs directly impact a medical practice and has a negative effect on its cash flow and profitability.
In this current environment, it is critical now more than ever for medical providers to maintain an organized, proactive and up-to-date medical billing practice and receivables management. In many cases, engaging outside legal counsel to assist in meeting these goals can be a good idea. Implementing an efficient system helps physicians and the health care industry operate at its full potential, drastically reduces write-offs, and increases cash flow while eliminating costly errors that impede on their ability to provide the best patient care.
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