Habits That Hurt Your Practice on NPBusiness.org

#57 – 6 Habits that Hurt Your Practice

There are 6 habits that practice owners have, often for the sake of time, that will hurt their practices. It’s widely known that most businesses fail because of poor cash flow. These 6 habits directly contribute to negatively impacting your practices’ financial health.

Habit: Failure to verify

If your practice accepts insurance coverage, you must verify that coverage before the patients come in for their appointment. You want to know:

  • Do they have an active policy?
  • What does the policy cover in terms of your services?
  • Do you need any kind of prior authorization in order to see them?
  • Have they met their deductible?
  • What (if anything) is their co-pay?

Failure to Collect

Practices lose money every year by not collecting money that is owed in terms of deductibles and co-payments. What you want to understand, and help your patients understand, is that you have a contractual obligation (as do they) to the insurance plan to collect those payments. It’s in your best interest as a business, to collect those patients upfront at the time of service.

Account Receivables (AR)

Another area where practices lose money is in the failure to follow up on AR.

Accounts receivable is the money that is owed to you by work you have already done. It’s often arranged in 30-60-90-120 days buckets.

In a healthcare-related practice, it includes claims that have been sent out and not yet received, claims that are awaiting action, and money that is past due from patients and/or payers.

It’s not uncommon for most of the money to be in a 30 days bucket, but you want the subsequent buckets to be smaller and smaller.

Spending

Failure to control spending is a problem in practices as well as other areas of life. Some of the more common reasons for this are:

  • The practice/business does not have a budget.
  • There is no inventory control.
  • Someone is impulse spending.

Staff

The number one expense in any business is going to be staff. There are many expenses in order to have staff, so you want to make sure that expense to your business is not a liability. You’ll want to address:

  • Do you have excess staff? Did you hire staff before you were ready?
  • Is your staff cross-trained?
  • Are they doing the work you hired them to do?

Monthly Statements

Some of us are relentless when it comes to reviewing our monthly bank and credit card statements, and others…not so much. This simple and quick task can say a lot when it comes to knowing where your money is going, not to mention discovering unapproved spending.

Understanding how to read these, and the monthly financial statements (profit and loss, balance sheet, cash flow statements) is crucial for your business’s financial wellbeing.

Take a list to the podcast as I discuss this in more detail.

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Your Turn

Were you able to identify any habits you need to change? Or do you have a foolproof system in place that allows you to take care of each area? I invite you to share your thoughts, ideas, and/or questions in the comments below.

Comments 2

  1. Hello Barbara,

    Hope all is well! I wanted to ask if you are not contracted with an insurance company but a patient wants to continue to see you, how should we be collecting payment? We accept the patient’s co-pay only for now but can we accept their deductibles or co-insurance? We explained to them if their insurance does not pay they are responsible for the visit which we usually put the patient on a sliding scale according to their income and household size at that point.
    PLEASE HELP!!!! What are your recommendations or suggestions for this problems when we are not contracted with the insurance companies?

  2. Post
    Author

    Hey Vickie,

    If you do not have a contract with an insurance panel, there are a couple of things you can do.
    1. Just treat them as a cash patient – that’s the easiest. You can also give the patient the superbill/invoice and let them send it to the insurance company to see if they can get reimbursed.
    2. Bill as an out-of-network provider – usually poor reimbursement and more out-of-pocket expense for the patient.

    If you need more help with this, or anything else, use your member benefits! Sign up for office hours or come to a coaching circle. You should be getting emails about this, and it’s also posted in the member’s portal. See you on the inside!

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