2 min read

7 ways to spring clean your revenue cycle

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 @ 07:35 PM


iStock_000076598221_Small.jpgThis is the time of year to open the windows, air out the house, deep clean long neglected spaces, and tidy up. For AR managers, it’s also a good time to “spring clean” the revenue cycle in a few key ways.

  1. Update and refresh your payers’ contracts “wiki”. Likely, payer requirements have changed. Know the nuances. Reviewing the contracts and the summary sheet you’ve created for each to make sure your knowledge is current. Make sure your billing practices are consistent with payer expectations. You may think, “But my billing software should be up to date with all changes.” Not necessarily. You will discover that it’s always a good idea to check and to communicate disparities with your vendor. Some areas to focus on: 
    • Levels of care by RUG scores or service levels
    • The level of ICD-10 code specificity required
    • How many days are considered co-pay days
    • Which ancillaries are covered in the base rate and which may be billed separately or not at all
    • If a pre-authorization and re-authorizations for a stay are needed
  1. Check the aging. Ask yourself, “Are our payers paying correctly?” Are they paying the contracted rates for ancillary services? The billing software may have it right, but does the payer? Reconcile what you are billing with the actual payments. If you don’t the ripple effect could be significant. A credit on your aging may not really be an overpayment. It may mean you are not tracking payments carefully. This involves more than just answering the question, “Did we get paid?” Instead, you should ask, “Did we get paid correctly and are you recording the payments correctly?
  1. Revisit your pre-admission screening procedures. Confirm that the pre-admissions screening procedures cover all the financial bases before admission. This may sound overly simplified, but it is so essential because of the numerous moving parts.
  1. Make sure the census is correct. This seems so obvious, but it is so critical. Make sure the census is up to date and entered correctly in the billing software.
  1. Stay on top of your Days Sales Outstanding (DSO). Discuss DSO with your team. Evaluate your progress towards reducing it to an acceptable level – ideally around 30 days. Realistically identify what is in your control. For example, Medicaid in some states pay much later than others. Consider DSO carefully, set goals thoughtfully, collect aggressively, and review regularly.
  1. Conduct a thorough claims triple check. This should be a multi-disciplinary review of all claims prior to submission. While it may not be practicable to review all claims, identify what could be a reasonable random sampling. You may want to target claims forwarded to a certain payer with which you have had problems in the recent past.
  1. Engage the right clearinghouse. Reassess your clearinghouse. You need to be sure that:
    • It knows your business and post-acute payers
    • You see cash flow improvements quarter over quarter
    • Its application is robust with simplified, intuitive workflows
    • It generates accurate and actionable reports
    • That the application is truly enterprise class with single sign-on for ease of access to multiple facilities, especially for designated region and corporate staff
    • The clearinghouse support team listens and promptly responds to your concerns and requests

It’s time to open those windows and let the fresh air in.  Spring clean your revenue cycle. It just makes cents.

 

Bonus: Discover 5 tips for maintaining your revenue stream in 2016

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Topics: DSO clearinghouse ICD-10 days sales outstanding RUG scores census revenue cycle AR aging pre-admission screening claims triple check
3 min read

Simplifying the Managed Care Claims Process

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 @ 07:00 PM

ClaimsAn associate of mine at primeCLAIMS, recently related a turn of phrase that I agree can apply to working with managed care organizations (MCOs), “If you’ve seen one contract, you’ve seen one contract.”  Depending on the number of managed care organizations your company or facility works with, billing the right payer and submitting the correct claim with the correct information can be quite complicated. MCOs have parallel as well as divergent policies for correct claims submission. Knowing what those contractual requirements are and fulfilling those requirements is the key. So, how does a biller keep this as simple as possible?

What’s in each contract – knowing what is covered, not covered

The devil is in the details. And since each MCO contract may be different from the others, billers should understand what’s in each. The contracts may specify:

  • Levels of care by RUG scores or service levels, which specific diagnosis codes are allowed, how many days are considered co-pay days, which ancillaries are covered in the base rate and which may be billed separately or not at all, if a pre-authorization[1] and re-authorizations for a stay is needed, and so forth. Most will agree that no two MCOs are alike. Knowing what services and procedures are covered is essential to and getting paid at the proper pay rates without unnecessary delays.

Caution: Billers need to be mindful that facilities may admit a resident/patient who is to be covered by managed care, but with whom the provider does not yet have a contract. In that event, the provider may not receive full pay for services rendered since the MCO in question may consider the claim out-of-network.

What’s in each contract – knowing how to complete the claim form

Billers need to have a working knowledge of what each MCO expects to have included in the claim form as stipulated in each contract. We recommend that billers have access to the contracts and to know what each requires.

Keeping it all in one place – a ready reference

Wikis are everywhere on the internet these days. Our support teams use wikis to have a ready reference when assisting our customers with questions they may have or to help them troubleshoot an issue they may be dealing with. So, why not create a hard copy MCO contract wiki? We advise all providers to compile all of their managed care contracts into one location, perhaps a tickler file, a file drawer with a folder for each contract, or a binder. In front of each contract, providers should place a completed summary form highlighting what each payer will pay for under what circumstances using which codes, paying how often. Each summary sheet highlights the essentials that must be included in each claim and should serve as a reference tool during the triple check meeting.

Set up the system correctly the first time

Another best practice to help simplify the process is to set up each contract’s claims requirements within the billing software, such as rates, included and excluded diagnosis codes, etc. Word to the wise - Take the time now to set it up properly or deal with possible problems later[2].

Last Word

Keeping the managed care billing process can easier to manage if providers will:

  • Set up a binder or book in which to keep each contract and its summary/cover sheet. All billers need to become familiar with each contract.
  • Correctly set up the contract provisions within the billing software.
  • Refer to the contract summary sheets during the triple check process.

One More Last Word

My primeCLAIMS colleague, Mike Giel, suggested we mention that in the contract negotiation period, providers need to discuss what provider enrollment procedures the MCO requires before claims can be submitted electronically. Think of it this way. The contract is the key to opening the claims flow door. The enrollment form opens the door. Completing, submitting and receiving approval prior to submitting the first claim will ensure that the door is open and remains open so that claims can go and payments come in unhindered.  

It just makes good cents.

[1] Example: Pre-authorizations are usually required to pre-approve a specific length of stay. Providers may need to get authorization to extend the stays beyond the initial authorized period. If providers don’t secure a reauthorization, they will have to worry about who will pay for the rest of the stay. Knowing that in advance can eliminate frustrations for all involved: the resident, the resident family, and the provider.

[2] Note: Contracts have a life of their own and can change over time. When those changes occur, record them in the contact binder and billing software set up.

 Claims Process

Topics: claim form triple check MCOs MCO contract Managed Care Organizations MCO claims RUG scores levels of care

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