It is important to create, build upon, and maintain a billing system that adapts to technology and patient needs as time goes by. There are five important steps that should be adhered to every year to make sure that Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) maintain or grow in terms of billing efficiency and effectiveness.
FQHC billing practices have changed dramatically over the years. People with many years of experience have seen billing change in terms of both technology and regulations. While it can be cumbersome to stay up to date with the changes in the field, it can also be refreshing and rewarding for staff members to realize that they make a real difference in the success of an organization based on their astute observations of the trends concerning maintaining necessary revenue through updated billing procedures.
The following strategies can be acted upon to give a center’s FQHC billing procedures a boost in 2016. By improving FQHC billing practices, one can promote faster payment which can improve revenue and lend to the success of the organization. Whether by simply reviewing any new or changed billing codes in the ICD-10, or by recruiting the help of FQHC billing consultants, below are various strategies that you can implement today.
1. Create Collaboration Between Front Desk & Billing Department
Never before has the need for a front desk connection been as important. Not only do people move house often, but there is a growing number of people who change their telephone numbers frequently. With the changes in mobile services, people are more likely to switch numbers without a forwarding number. It is essential for the front desk to get and update personal information to make sure that the billing department can contact the patients in a timely way.
2. Review ICD-10 Codes (Recent Changes & New Codes)
Every year the billing staff must make sure that all new codes and coding changes have been incorporated into the system. The ICD-10 Coding changes can make the difference between proper payment and an unpaid bill. Time goes by quickly and it is easy for staff to overlook ICD-Code data changes without realizing how long it has been since they made sure new changes in coding has been managed. It is a good idea to take some time at the beginning of each year to verify that all codes are up to date to prevent delay and billing problems.
3. Leverage Up-to-Date Billing Software & Systems
Don’t hesitate to update outmoded billing software, accounting systems, or other billing procedures. Trying to do current billing with an old system can create a series of frustrations and problems. Not every office needs an expensive billing software system, but an obsolete system is more of a hindrance than a help.
4. Pinpoint Patterns in Claim Denials
Carefully review the patterns of your claim denials from third parties. You may need to review your office’s coding efficiency, determine how the follow-up is being managed, find out how many of the errors are a result of an automated billing system, and assign someone in the office to follow the process. If you don’t have office staff available to manage this important aspect of billing, consider hiring additional help.
5. Consider Recruiting a FQHC Billing Consultant
Consider engaging a professional FQHC billing consulting service to help your own staff to become educated and for consultation regarding the best practices of patient billing and coding for FQHC’s. Outsourcing billing services to a specialized consultant or agency can help a FQHC’s staff learn the best practices as well as establish the systems and resources to execute solid billing procedures.