Results are Changing Quality of Care by Richard L. Tamburello

Medical practices need to re-design office operations because costs are rising and reimbursements are on a downward trend. In fact, reimbursements are expected to decline over the next several years. What is adding more pressure to the practice’s survival is the patient! Patients are becoming more demanding about the care which they receive, including expecting to be seen by the doctor at the scheduled appointment time. Patients are also becoming more impatient because of added bureaucracy such as being asked to see insurance cards, completing various demographic forms and being asked a barrage of questions on each visit.

Patients now have access to a variety of resources where they can see opinions of healthcare providers written by other patients who have received care by the prospective practice.  Additionally, patients are paying higher premiums along with deductibles. Patients are becoming `healthcare’ shoppers looking for quality care at bargain prices. The quality of care is changing…maybe to better serve patients.
Practices are in turn becoming increasingly competitive such as asking patients more questions, spending more time during each visit and improving `bedside’ manner. Many medical practices are seeking alternative ways to reducing and better controlling both administrative and operations costs, as these factors can negatively impact cash flow. Practices must also take into account that addition and increasing costs are coming down the pike.

More and more healthcare providers are exploring alternative cost-effective methods for managing several key aspects of typical front desk and `backdoor’ staff activities. For example, the specialist’s staff focuses on obtaining authorizations, determining eligibility and validating or obtaining referrals.  However, all practices in addition to entering and scrubbing charges are filing claims, posting payments, conducting insurance follow-up campaigns, sending statements, responding to patient inquiries, filing appeals, greeting patients and making appointments. Many medical practices have discovered there are several key and viable solutions which do offer significant expense and cost reduction controls. One is securing the services of a trusted and proven medical billing service.

Medical billing services can perform the day-to-day billing tasks with greater efficiency because of fewer non-billing interruptions. Some billing services will also conduct eligibility, authorization and insurance contract services. Fees charged by billing services are usually based upon generated revenues, meaning there is an incentive to perform. Those medical practices using a trusted and proven billing service will, in most cases, begin to see the positive results in the bottom-line, thus giving doctors more time to provide quality care and see more patients. Times are changing and now is the time for medical practices to focus on and provide patients with quality care!