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New Practice

Billing tips for new independent practices


The financial success of your new independent practice depends on your ability to bill promptly and accurately as well as to make the payment process easy and convenient for your patients. Here are some helpful billings tips for new independent practices that will guide you through the process.

Efficient and effective billing practices are part of your practice’s revenue cycle management. Having a healthy revenue cycle is critical to your continued successful operations, so you can make sure your practice is paid for the services you provide. When you are reimbursed by third-party payers, the lag between rendering services and receiving payment can be especially challenging.

The first step is to verify your patient’s information, including their healthcare coverage. This information is confirmed at check in to ensure records are current and accurate. Patient insurance coverage changes when they have switched employers or even just from year to year with the same plan. Verifying coverage from the first encounter with the patient can reduce billing errors after the visit is complete.

Then, ensure that you and your practice team are all familiar with the billing process. Whether you use a separate billing software or are taking advantage of the billing features in your electronic health record (EHR) system, each member of your team should understand how it works. You probably have one or two staff members designated to be responsible for ongoing billing, but it always helps to have backups in case of vacations or other absences.

With Elation’s Clinical First EHR and our integrated partners, you can focus on your patients while your billing team manages your business. Find out how integrated billing helps streamline your workflow and increase your practice financial success.

It is equally important to ensure that your patients understand the billing and payment expectations.

  • Clearly state what patients owe and when and how they should pay. Provide an electronic option to make it easier for your patients to pay quickly.
  • Establish a patient communication workflow to follow up. This will be especially important if the patient voices a concern about their ability to pay their portion of the bill.
  • Send patient statements as necessary. Detail the patient’s responsibility as well as anything that their insurance may have already paid so there are no misunderstandings as to what is owed and when.
  • Determine how to address non-paying patients. Sending a patient account to a collections agency should be a last resort for your practice. Start with communicating with the patient, securely and confidentially, about their responsibility to pay and the timeframe in which they need to pay to avoid further action. Leave channels open for the patient to appeal insurance denials that they feel are inaccurate.

Make sure that all coding is accurate and complete. Insurance claims can be denied when a number is transposed or incorrect coding results in a procedure or diagnosis that does not apply to the patient.

Stay current on the latest rules and regulations regarding coding and billing. If you care for patients with Medicare or Medicaid, review all applicable proposed and final rules on a regular basis.

Follow these billing tips for new independent practices to improve your new practice’s opportunity to enjoy financial success while providing the highest quality care for your patients.