Posts Tagged ‘practice profitability’
With potentially significant changes in Medicare reimbursement for oncologists being addressed this year, it’s imperative that your oncology practice closely examines its current billing and coding practices to assure that your claims house is in order.
The American Society for Clinical Oncologists takes the proposed reforms very seriously and offers educational opportunities to oncologists to understand and prepare for the inevitable changes to reimbursement for cancer patient care.
Oncologists in private practice not only face mounting pressures of administrative costs and staying abreast of the latest compliance regulations, but also now face reimbursement rates falling. Many times, these physicians, who just want to be able to focus on their patients’ cancer care, under prioritize (understandably) business management essentials.
We’ve worked with a number of oncology clinics and consistently find that the billing and coding, revenue cycles and collection are a common source of lost revenue. Correcting bad habits in billing and coding practices, establishing systematic processes, and keeping an eye on reducing general oncology practice expenses all can make the difference in whether your oncology practice succeeds, folds or becomes absorbed in a nearby hospital’s local acquisition efforts.
Derry, Nolan suggests practice managers, executives and billing management meet regularly to review the practices’ income and expense trends. If the net income trend looks more down or flat than up for several months, don’t wait, act! Take these measures to get your practice’s billing and coding house in order before reimbursement changes:
- Call for an external audit of your current billing and coding practices
- Proactively train for transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets
- Conduct a revenue cycle analysis
- Examine and reduce operational expenses
- Assess and optimize workflow practices to increase efficiency & patient satisfaction
Margins for healthcare organizations are slim at best, particularly when it comes to Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements. Rather than compromising care quality, many healthcare systems, hospitals, specialty clinics and physician practices are looking at a common denominator – facilities overhead.
Operational efficiency audits often examine workflow, resource allocation and general costs, yet the most thorough ones don’t ignore facilities, which can include an array of possibilities. In one engagement, we uncovered a number of cost-saving logistical and facilities measures that were fairly simple to implement, yet contributed to significant bottom line savings.
Consider supplies. From paper to needles and syringes, what’s your outlay? Do you keep too much of one item on hand? Do you have multiple locations that could benefit from volume purchasing? Or are you a single location with space limitations that should look at just-in-time ordering?
What about energy output? For instance, larger healthcare organizations might consider new air handling systems that use considerably less energy yet improve patient and staff safety with fresh, clean air supply. Smaller clinics or physician practices in leased space may want to look at everything from thermostat settings and light bulbs to air flow in underused spaces, air filtration systems, or water usage (toilets, automatic faucets).
The savings opportunities aren’t always immediately obvious. Work closely with your healthcare facilities engineer to discover sensible changes or simple adjustments that will not only help the bottom line, but also improve your healthcare facility.
Derry, Nolan & Associates helps specialty clinics and groups, physician practices and healthcare systems discover new efficiencies and more effective use of resources. Email us to schedule your free, one-hour consult with our medical practice specialists.
Medical practice websites are a given but the old, brochure style site is going the way of the dodo. In the social media age, patients expect interaction from their doctor’s website. An eye clinic, for instance, may have special prices for contacts or glasses available to vision patients promoted not only on their website, but also on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. An oncology clinic may have an informative blog series on “What to Expect” to help chemotherapy patients and caregivers prepare for treatment sessions and aftermath. And nearly all practices and clinics have blank patient information and medical history forms available for download – it’s a simple yet helpful time saving tool.
If you’ve not updated your medical practice’s website lately, consider having an “audit” of your site and your medical group’s online presence. Seek out a web expert who has a solid book of medical and healthcare related websites in their client list. Visit physician practice or hospital websites that appeal to you (and check out the competition!) and share those with the web developer or your marketing project manager. Many times, they can point out why those sites work or why they don’t. Often, the snazziest medical practice sites aren’t search engine friendly, and if Google can’t find them, neither can patients!
Improve Your Medical Practice’s Profitability & Reach
In our interim practice management or clinic executive roles, we look at practice profitability holistically, from efficient processes to best practices in all aspects of operations and marketing. This includes being called upon to help physician groups and specialty clinics update their online presence or develop more effective, efficient medical and patient marketing practices. We help assure online and traditional marketing procedures follow healthcare privacy and marketing regulations, while also helping bring your medical practice’s online marketing methods up-to-date.