“To know is to grow.” Yes, as I pondered this week’s blog topic, this quote came to mind – probably not original, but it is apropos and kind of catchy. As the manager of an accounts receivable team at the corporate, region, or facility level, your job is to help your team members grow in knowledge, skill sets, and ultimately productivity. For over ten years, Prime Care Technologies has asserted that knowledge is the power to succeed and to grow. The seed of knowledge is data converted to useful information and transformed into knowledge. Let’s explore five ways you can help your team’s productivity and success through knowledge.
- Become a part of the admissions team – Know who is to be admitted when, who is to pay, and be able to collect permissable deposits. Office managers have the obligation to remind admissions decision makers that the temptation to admit “warm bodies” just to fill empty beds will certainly drive up direct care costs, but may not contribute to a healthy bottom line. Further, company policy can insist that the administrator/executive director sign off on all write-offs. Bad debt sitting passively on the books is one thing, but a write-off is concrete confirmation that the facility is not going to collect and can serve as a real deterrent to the practice of “heads in beds,” as a veteran AR consultant once stated to me.
On an even more proactive note – become part of the admissions team. We have observed that the more responsible facilities, which happen to have a better bottom line track record, require that each member of the admissions team (comprised at least of the administrator, director of nursing, rehab services, and the business office) must sign off on each pending admission. By doing so, the team members insure that the essential bases are covered.
- Help the family with the Medicaid application – Figuratively speaking, hold their hands. Once you know that the resident may qualify for Medicaid, at the least, either prior to or on admission have a copy of the Medicaid application ready for the responsible party. Highlight the applicable sections to be filled out. Even include a cover list with simple instructions about how to fill out the form. In some facilities, the business office actually sits down with the responsible party to walk through the form and to complete the form right there and then. The facility makes a copy of the completed application for the responsible party and then mails the original.
- Collect resident liability up front – For Medicaid-covered residents, some states allow you to collect the resident liability on admission. Check with your state’s Medicaid program to confirm and to determine what the collectible pro-rated amount should be.
- Ask if the responsible party would like the facility to manage the resident income – The resident trust fund can be a real benefit to responsible parties and families members. Because it is federally insured direct-deposit account that collects interest, the facility business office can pay resident-specific bills. The family does not need to worry about bringing in deposits or paying bills. It can contribute to peace of mind and can strengthen the responsible party/facility relationship.
- Thank your staff. Regularly let them know how much you appreciate your team. They work hard and in a frequently frantic environment. A “thank you” goes a long way by letting them know you appreciate them and are aware of their successes.
Knowledge about admissions, that the Medicaid application has been filed, that deposits are collected, the resident bills are going to be paid, and that good work is recognized goes a long way to foster success. What other things do you do to fuel your AR team’s pursuit of excellence? Please share it with us. It makes cents.