18 Aug What Do Your A/R Reports Reveal?
We have reached the time of year when the fiscal year is coming to a close for many of our practices, whether that is this quarter or next. If you haven’t been closely tracking your accounts receivable throughout the year, this is a good time of year to take stock of where the outstanding monies lie for your practice.
The following provides guidance for examining your practice’s A/R. We’ve included an explanation of what a healthy A/R report looks like within a healthy revenue cycle, and also indicate some areas where a good looking A/R report may not give you the full picture. We tell you where you need to dig deeper to confidently grasp your practice’s A/R.
Why do you have high volumes in your A/R Reports?
High A/R could indicate a number of issues with your billing processes. A healthy A/R aging report is often identified with a high volume of charges aged 30 days or less, with the volume dwindling dramatically across the more aged categories. However, even an A/R report that looks like this is not automatically indicative of good revenue cycle processes. Learn these possible pitfalls and you will learn to love your A/R reports as one of the better tools available for assessing your revenue cycle:
- You have a high volume of patient due balances
- With the increase in high deductible plans, a greater portion of your overall A/R is coming directly from patients. If you are not diligent about collecting balances due from your patients, you will see an increase in your A/R.
- Billers are not working denied claims as routinely as possible
- It’s important to keep up with any denied claims received – the quicker you resolve, the quicker you close that open A/R.
- Billers are not following up timely with insurance companies on unpaid claims
- As above, it is critical to followup timely with insurance companies on unpaid claims to resolve any open issues causing the insurer not to pay, obtain payment, and close open A/R.
- Billers are not following up at all with insurance companies on unpaid and denied claims!
- To appropriately close open A/R, you have to work unresolved claims. In a busy office, this can be difficult (we understand!), but the key is to devote a little time each day to follow-up to keep up on this important revenue cycle piece.
- One or more physicians are not properly credentialed with one or more insurance companies
- Keep a schedule for yourself of when physicians are due for re-credentialing, and be sure to remember to credential and add to your insurance contracts any new physicians who join your practice.
- You do not have certified coders working your charge review allowing for a greater volume of errors and fewer clean claims submitted to insurance companies
- Thorough review of charges by certified coders is an excellent way of ensuring full charge capture and sending a higher percentage of clean claim, leading to quicker payment, less work on the back-end, and lower A/R.
- Your registrars are making mistakes during the registration process
- Weak front-end processes lead to information errors submitted on claims. If you strengthen your front-end processes, you will reduce errors and reduce denials associated with registration errors.
- Some insurance companies are simply relatively slow at paying claims
- You have one in mind now, don’t you?! Sometimes this is avoidable if you speak with the insurance company. Often it is unavoidable. In this case, isolate the affected A/R so that you do not miss another problem, and so that you can look at your A/R but for this one unavoidable problem.
*Note: In addition to these problems related to high A/R, reports that look too good could be indicative of too many write-offs. A/R reports – specifically A/R aging reports – are one of the best tools for assessing your billing health and isolating the problem areas in your revenue cycle where you should focus your resources.