Six Areas to Improve at Your Medical Practice in 2014

December 7, 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, it's time to set forth new goals for your medical practice.

Michelangelo wrote: “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” Can you imagine how his works would have been had he led with a different attitude?

When you review your policies, procedures, and goals, look at those goals that you have met. Did you increase those goals from last year, or have they stayed the same? With the ever changing insurance reimbursement climate, you need to closely review these and make the appropriate increases for the upcoming year.

Here are six other areas to try to improve in 2014:

Your aging A/R. You really should have 70 percent to 80 percent of all of your A/R in the zero to 60 day range. It is possible with the right process in place, and it will save you thousands in administrative costs if you operate your business in this time frame.

DSO (days sales outstanding). This really should be under 60 days, correlating to your aging A/R. This is representative of how quickly you chart on the patient and get those charges to your billing department. Daily billing is a must if you want to successfully operate a healthcare facility.

Industry standard. I used to think that everyone should be at "industry standard" for their A/R balance. Now I'm hoping that most of you are below it. It's a simple calculation. Take three months of your charges, average those three numbers and multiply by 1.5. This will provide you with what is considered “industry standard” for your A/R balance.

Job descriptions and salary ranges. I know that it is often considered difficult to assess an employee by her workload and assign a dollar amount to that. It's actually very easy. Have a very well thought out job description with a salary range. Based upon the metrics (means of measuring performance) you have laid out for the employee, it is very easy to see if she is performing up to the standards set forth. Just because an employee asks for a raise does not mean she gets to hold your company hostage until she gets it. If she deserves it based upon performance, and she has not exceeded her salary range, by all means, raise away. Make it a goal to improve and solidify job descriptions and salary ranges.

Process flow. This is the essence of your business. From the time a patient calls to make an appointment to the moment the claim has been posted and you are paid, there are hundreds of steps in between. Identifying those steps is critical to ensuring you have a solid process in place. See how you can improve this process in the coming year.

Policies and procedures. Are your policies and procedures up to date and accurate for how your business is operating? Often, implementers of those policies sometimes conveniently “forget” about ones that they are not fond of, leaving your company vulnerable. Make it a goal to review and update your policies and procedures. It's quite alright once you have reviewed these policies to drop some, or update them. These documents are living and dynamic and need to change with the course of your company.

When reviewing these areas just remember that if you are willing to aim low, and expect less, that is exactly what you will get.