ffective billing and claims submission processes and procedures, both during today’s current challenging economy and in better times, have been key to our chiropractic practice’s continuing health and ability to grow. Improved revenue cycle management has positively and directly impacted the level and overall quality of the patient care we deliver, as better accounts receivable yields dollars for reinvestment in state-of-the-art technologies.
The same can be said for our chiropractic practice brethren. In addition to offering a wider range of patient payment options beyond cash and checks, including credit and debit cards and e-payment, increasingly sophisticated and fully useful software solutions are automating once paper-based clinical and business applications while facilitating integration with collection agencies and clearinghouses.
These solutions serve as inexpensive tools that chiropractic practices leverage to more thoroughly capture revenue from existing patients, while also making it easier to accommodate increasing patient volumes.
We formed the All Care Health and Rehabilitation Center here in Jefferson, IN more than 20 years ago, eons when one considers the now archaic paper-based billing and claims processes then commonly in place. Our practice only a scant two years ago began using billing and notes software and clearinghouse services. We’re still modest in size; our staff consisting of Dr. Gabe Spruch and one other physician, and Sherrie Spruch and three other support staff members. We transitioned to our current system after years of enduring painful and time consuming paper-based processes, followed by a period during which an outside billing service handled our billings and claims electronically.
Frankly, the thought of moving billing and claims processing back under our roof was not something we initially were wildly enthusiastic about.
But we’re glad we did, and are certain that other chiropractic practices either feel the same or are seriously considering going the same route. The revenue cycle management solution has fully automated our entire suite of clinical and business processes, from scheduling and documentation, to accounting, administration and enterprise management. Our overall practice efficiencies and end-to-end payment management have been markedly improved, as has workflow as it relates to reduced billing and clerical errors, reduced accounts receivable and faster payment posting and book balancing resulting from an auto-remittance feature.
Software, by itself, unless used properly and to its full capability, won’t enable chiropractic practices to be as efficient as possible. Built-in analytics tools enable practice administrators to closely examine patient responsibilities like co-payments, deductibles, coinsurance payments and other similar fees. Reviewing these, over time, has enabled us to better identify problem areas and work with patients in addressing the most serious situations for improved revenue flow.
We electronically sub-mit nearly all—99 percent—of our claims.
It’s also critical that solution providers walk physicians and support staff step-by-step, process-by-process to do so. Practices must be aware of each individual insurer’s unique policies and procedures, and learn exactly how to file claims to each. Practices therefore should choose software not only based on its functionality and cost, but also as it relates to a vendor’s ability and willingness to provide strong support before the sale as well as during and after implementation.
The best systems don’t only facilitate claims submission; their developers will also hold claims for chiropractic practices for required edits, dramatically reducing insurer rejections, speeding up payments and maximizing revenue flow. Some vendors will also electronically accept remits on a practice’s behalf, so that all the chiropractic office needs to do is download them into the billing software. Here at All Care Health and Rehabilitation, all we need to do is download a remit and the software automatically pulls up the patient’s claim and posts it to the account on the date of service.
What a time saver! Other revenue cycle management features built into some software solutions provide practices with all pertinent information relating to individual claims and provide the ability to resubmit claims directly through the vendor’s website for a seven- to 10-day turnaround, depending on the insurer. We electronically submit nearly all—99 percent—of our claims. Because not every insurance company accepts electronic claims, it’s also helpful to choose a software vendor that will ease your practice’s burden by filing paper claims for your practice.
As we stated, today’s economic conditions are less than stellar, with high unemployment and frequent changes in employer healthcare coverage. Patients like never before are struggling to meet direct medical costs. Chiropractic practices that offer flexible, consumer-friendly payment options provide patients with increased incentives to make prompt payments, while software solutions from supportive vendors accelerate the revenue cycle through improved billing and claims processes.
Combined, these policies, procedures and solutions generate improved revenues and profitability. The increased cash flow enhances a chiropractor’s ability to provide higher quality care with added resources for medical technology investments, and lower patient, physician and staff member stress levels.
Dr. Gabe Spruch, with his wife Sherrie Spruch, is the co-founder of All Care Health and Rehabilitation Center, launched in 1990 as All Care Chiropractic. Dr. Spruch is both a chiropractic physician and licensed professional acupuncturist. He and his staff work to help patients achieve better health with proper nutrition, exercise, structural alignment and balanced internal energy. You can visit the website at: http://www.allcarehealthandrehab.com/ or call (812) 288-7000. His practice uses ZirMed for their revenue cycle management solution. For additional information, visit the website at: http://www.zirmed.com.
Sherrie Spruch, co-founder of All Care Health and Rehabilitation Center with her husband, Dr. Gabe Spruch, serves as the center’s practice manager. In addition to overseeing day-to-day office operations, Sherrie shares with patients her wealth of knowledge about the importance of natural health care. You can visit the website at: http://www.allcarehealthandrehab.com/ or call (812) 288-7000.