Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) can be very complex, but if you have the right goals and measures in place you are setting your ASC up for success. So how do you improve your RCM? Here is one perspective on how you determine the effectiveness of your revenue cycle and identify opportunities to improve your cash flow.

Put patients first

According to Advantum Health, more than half of patients with outstanding medical debt never pay it. For this reality, it is imperative to have a positive relationship and good communication with your patients. To improve, your organization must take necessary steps to understand your patients’ preferences. For example, providing them options to submit payments makes it not only easier on them, but on you too! Patients need to know their responsibilities. Giving cost evaluations, presenting payment plan options, and offering high-tech billing services will benefit providers in the long run for collecting revenue more quickly. The ultimate goal as an ASC is to provide the best patient care. It is important to educate your patients on their financial responsibility and payment options so that they are aware of their obligations for the visit. A recent Becker’s article on how to improve revenue cycle offered up a powerful tip, “use a checklist to ensure proper registration of the patient.” This added step will help prevent errors at the start of the process.

Integrate your RCM into established workflows and legacy systems

Change is inevitable since the healthcare industry is evolving rapidly with new technologies and advancements designed to help surgeons and caregivers. Staying on top of the trends will enable providers to focus on what is most important: patient care. That being said, providers must implement the right technologies to achieve efficiency and automation, all key to streamlining revenue cycle processes and boosting overall productivity (MD Clarity). As a best practice, revenue cycle processes must be integrated throughout the entire ASC from patient registration to inventory management to financial reporting. With automated workflows, though, the way you spend your time can significantly increase in value while the effectiveness of your revenue cycle improves. For example, practices can save an average $3.60 per eligibility and benefits verification by switching to an automated process. As a result, investing in technology leads to simplified RCM processes making them more manageable and less complex, allowing you to focus on your staff, patients, and growing your ASC.

Break down the front and back end of your RCM

Breaking down the front and back end tasks of your RCM are both equally important. Starting with the front end, the American Health Information Management Association suggests, “Medical practices should use a check sheet or guide to be sure all pertinent information is collected at the time of scheduling.” Explaining to the patient what information they should bring to the appointment, the expectation of payment of co-pays at the time of visit, and the arrival time if certain documents or registration items need to be completed is essential. Improving front end processes can help providers prevent common errors that lead to claim denials, underpayments, and other back end issues. (MD Clarity) All of this effort will support the flow of the process on the back end with coding, charge entry, claims transmissions, payment posting, and denial management. Providers rely on more payers and plans than ever for reimbursement, which is also increasingly tied to their clinical and financial performance, and other complexities that can improved with technology.

Educate staff on full process of RCM

Again, as the healthcare industry is ever-evolving with new technology, it is vital for your staff to be educated on your revenue cycle system. Janice Crocker recommends training staff on the knowledge and functionality of your system. The goal is full utilization and workflow improvement. Having educated staff members knowing all the ins and outs of the system will support the needs of the center. Regular training should be an ongoing cycle in order to keep up with the latest trends in the industry as it is an important principal in maintaining accurate processes with few errors. Billing specialists should adhere to strict medical billing practices and procedures, which promote superior billing performance for improved cash flow. Having the strategic approach designed to improve efficiency and optimize reimbursement beyond just billing and coding is important education.

Improve your bottom-line

Consistent and assertive follow-up significantly improves your ASC’s bottom line. RCM systems help ensure ASCs are reimbursed as quickly as possible. With RCM services, specialists proactively follow-up on all claims, managing claim denials and appeals. Outsourcing your revenue cycle assists in your center's growth and increases your bottom line. The highest objective for an ASC besides patient care is to improve revenue cycle efficiency, optimize reimbursement, and position for long-term profitability. We are here for you! Simplify offers RCM services to improve strategies and cash flow. Learn more!