Owning an audiology practice means you’re constantly juggling everything from patient advocacy and HR to marketing and compliance. You’re trying to attract new patients and keep the existing ones happy. You’re balancing the business strategy with the needs of your providers. Whew.
But here’s the kicker: Your efforts won’t be worth much if your practice isn’t getting paid.
Yes, cash is king, even in the context of your audiology practice. If you’re unable to offer competitive salaries, your employees will leave. If you don’t have money to advertise in the right spots, you’ll miss valuable sales opportunities. And if you aren’t able to pay yourself a reasonable wage, you could come up short on personal obligations.
To help you avoid a cash crunch in your practice, here are six audiology accounts receivable best practices to implement ASAP. (We’re talking private pay and not health insurance receivables.)
Integrate QuickBooks into your patient management system.
Most patient management systems offer an option for QuickBooks integration. We highly recommend using it! This feature reduces data entry, tracks payments from the patient management system to your bank account, and helps to ensure the data between your patient management system and practice financials is consistent. Unfortunately, integrations only work with QuickBooks Desktop at this time.
Keep in mind: Setting up the integrations can be tricky and should be approached carefully and with the complete buy-in of your bookkeeper and CPA.
Embrace your patient management system.
Your patient management system is the heart of your practice and should be used to its fullest potential. In fact, many patient management systems have invoicing features that streamline the receivables collection process and make sure important steps aren’t missed. Does your system offer this capability? If you’re unsure of what your patient management system can do, ask your provider about training opportunities.
Review your collection policies and procedures.
Discussing money with anyone can be uncomfortable, especially when it’s someone who needs your help. For this reason, be sure to have documented payment and collection policies in place—and that your staff members understand them. Also, communicate your policies in advance with potential patients, so they have time to mentally prepare for and ask questions about payment expectations.
Closely monitor your accounts receivable aging reports.
Your accounts receivable aging reports show which patients or insurance companies may owe you money, how old the outstanding balance is, and the severity of your overall receivable situation. If a larger percentage of your receivables are older than 60 days, trouble may be brewing.
All too often, we see little effort put into monitoring this valuable report, even though it’s built into both the patient management system and QuickBooks canned reports. Many practices review aging reports only annually during tax time, if even that. We recommend keeping these reports updated and accurate.
Consider having a dedicated staff member consistently print out the report, make notes, and follow up on open balances.
Monitor and follow up on delinquent accounts.
Now that you know which accounts are delinquent (thanks to your accounts receivable aging report), you can take action. There are several things you can do to collect outstanding balances:
- Send reminder statements
- Call the patient
- Offer an incentive program for the staff member(s) responsible for collecting
- Watch for trends (i.e., consistently late payers)
Keep your emotions in check.
Not getting paid for your hard work, well, it just stinks. And it can be frustrating to deal with late payers and the pile of excuses they often unfurl at your feet. But don’t let it overwhelm you or your staff members. Keep your head up and avoid rash decisions. Following these best practices often helps to streamline the process and take some of the worry off your plate.
At PWB, we understand how difficult it can be to devote time to your audiology accounts receivable processes. We’re here to help you implement these best practices and keep the cash flowing into your practice. Contact us today to learn more.