Chiropractic Economics reported average gross billing for chiropractors in 2016 was $689,092 and the average total collections were $384,627. What this means is that almost half of chiropractors’ services were uncollected. What would you do with an extra $300,000? Even if you improve your collections rate by 50%, that’s enough for the average chiropractor to buy a new office every year. So as you can see, an efficient collections process is a critical component to the success of your business.
Since the majority of chiropractic patients have insurance, it’s important to focus first on a reliable insurance collections process. The most effective and cost-free way to do this is to manage insurance claims yourself instead of paying thousands to outsource this service.
Just how much money do claims processing services cost? Well, industry average is roughly seven percent. So let’s say you’re an average chiropractor and 60% of your collections is insurance, could be spending roughly $16,000 in claims processing fees. That’s a chunk of change for a service you can easily do yourself.
Not only does in-house claims processing save you thousands but your collection rates will likely increase. No one cares about your hard-earned money more than you do, right? But to successfully manage your insurance claims, you need to create an efficient and accurate in-house claims processing system. Here are four easy steps to follow.
Step 1. Use an EHR System with Integrated Billing & Claims Processing
An electronic health records (EHR) system with integrated billing and claims processing allows you to post global payments, write-offs, or patient balances. With this type of system, you can also generate reports showing aged claims and patient bills. These reports make tracking insurance and patient balances much easier.
Step 2. Additional Computer Hardware Needed
Most paid insurance claims come in the form of an EOP (Explanation of Payment) mailed to your office. You should scan these paper documents into your computer, so it’s easier to store, find, and organize information. Since you will be receiving many EOPs with multiple pages daily, we suggest a high-speed scanner. Specifically, you may want to purchase a Fujitsu Scansnap scanner as they are fast and reliable.
Next, you’ll want to connect two monitors to your computer. A dual-screen display saves a lot of time and aggravation when two applications or windows need to be open at the same time. For example, your EOPs can be on one monitor with the patient’s account on the other. No more opening and closing windows can add to your click-through rates. Be aware. Some computers may need special graphics cards installed so talk to your IT person to see what works for you.
Step 3. Use Online Claims Management Services
Another step to making “do-it-yourself” claims processing easy is to use a clearinghouse. This service will allow you to submit electronic claims which are processed faster by insurance companies compared to paper claims. By doing this, you’re able to retain complete control over your claims processes. Plus, you’re not paying thousands of dollars to someone else to have them do something that you can easily do yourself with nothing more than an Internet connection.
Use an Internet-based clearinghouse. There are several available, but we suggest either OfficeAlly.com or Trizetto.com. These clearinghouses will help you get paid faster and allow you to keep track of claims throughout their payment process.
Online insurance verification is a must too. It is faster than calling and in many cases, more accurate. Additionally, you can easily print out these benefits for the patient.
Step 4. Use Document Management Software
Finally, to make your claims posting process as seamless and effortless as possible, use document management software. This program allows EOPs to be indexed, organized, and searched using any keyword. The software also allows you to separate processed and unprocessed EOPs into folders, making it easy to locate and keep track claims.
There are many software products available for managing your digital documents. However, we recommend FileCenter. Simply put, FileCenter is the most intuitive and affordable system. On a side note, avoid Nuances Paperport products since the software is riddled with problems.
By following these four steps—using an EHR with integrated billing and claims processing, acquiring additional hardware, using an online claims management service, and purchasing document management software—you’ll be able to take care of your claims processing, potentially saving yourself tens of thousands of dollars (or more) annually.
Not only does this mean that you’ll have more cash available to spend on things you enjoy or save for retirement, but all three of these things can make running your busy chiropractic practice easier than ever. In essence, this gives you the best of both worlds. Ultimately, you get to earn money while at the same time have your business run smoother.