By Scott Snowberger, OD
April 8, 2020
For any small or growing eyecare practice, managing cash flow can be a challenging obstacle to overcome. For years, our practice went the traditional route in terms of managing our insurance claims, and ultimately, our practice’s revenue flow.
When I say the traditional route, I mean we had two staff members dedicated to pulling insurance authorizations, submitting claims and posting EOBs.
As our business continued to grow, we struggled with the stability and scalability of our claim filing processes. As a result, we started falling several months behind posting EOBs to our system. On top of that, employee turnover was causing us to fall even farther behind. These two obstacles led to a cash flow problem because we weren’t transferring patient responsibility balances to the patient in order to send out patient statements.
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Because we were falling behind, I found myself, an OD, staying late after closing on several occasions submitting claims in order to keep up until we were able to get a new employee hired and trained on our processes. This disruptive cycle was not conducive to practice growth and I knew something had to change.
Finding a Solution That Fit
With in-house claim filing continuing to be a pain point, we decided to evaluate options of outsourcing. I’ll be honest, we were hesitant after having a bad experience with outsourcing in the past, but we were willing to give it another try. After doing research, we learned that VisionWeb, a company we had been successfully partnering with for years for order processing, offers billing services. We were much more confident in using a company we already trusted for a big part of our business.
The transition to using the new billing service wasn’t without a few hiccups. It took a month or two of working with our account manager to get our processes accurately in place. Once we solidified our problem spots, the handling of our account has gone smoothly. One of the immediate impacts we noticed right away was the speed at which our claim payments were being received. It was the quickest it had ever been.
9 Ways Our Practice Is Benefiting Today
Almost two years into outsourcing our claim filing and we’ve seen several benefits across the board:
1. Overall, our revenue cycle has sped up and we’re making more money because we are writing less off.
2. We never miss a deadline for timely filing.
3. We no longer worry if an employee will write off a claim because of its complexity.
4. We can send patient statements weeks or months sooner, making it easier to collect patient responsibility.
5. We’ve reduced workflow tasks for our own employees.
6. We’ve saved on payroll expenses as we no longer need to employ the full-time and part-time employees we had dedicated to these tasks.
7. Outsourcing this part of our business has stabilized our cash flow.
8. We are no longer at the mercy of employee attendance or turnover.
9. Our business has become scalable, and we aren’t falling behind after busy times or overpaying employees during the slow times.
Outsourcing to a revenue cycle management service was a profitable decision for our practice. We’re spending less than we were to process in-house and we have had, on average, a $10 increase in total cash received per refraction.