Write-Off Categories

March 1, 2009

In answering a previous question, Dr. Moore suggested I visit our write-off reports to determine whether or not our write-off categories made any sense. I did just that, and found that my staff had created more than 50 reasons! I would like to reduce the number of reasons, but am not sure what general categories would allow for grouping similar reasons in a more efficient manner.

Question: In answering a previous question, Dr. Moore suggested I visit our write-off reports to determine whether or not our write-off categories made any sense. I did just that, and found that my staff had created more than 50 reasons! I would like to reduce the number of reasons, but am not sure what general categories would allow for grouping similar reasons in a more efficient manner.

Answer: Ha, I love it when I’m right.

Why don’t you start by presenting the problem to the staff and asking them to streamline to three categories at most? They should share their thought processes with you so you can understand them. You should approach it in a “teach me” way, and ask for their help in crafting a solution.

To my mind, you should have:

  • One pile for contractual allowances/allowables/discounts (these aren’t really “write-offs” of course, but many like to track them anyway).

  • Another for patient write-offs - money you couldn’t collect from patients.

  • Another for payer write-offs, by payer - money you were legitimately owed but you didn’t collect because of some problem of yours - late filing, sloppy registration, etc.

Your goal with tracking is just to keep your eye on what you can fix. So measure that.