Effective Cash Flow Management to Restore Your Dental Practice
As dental practices open up for treatment and procedures post COVID-19, prioritizing the cash flow recovery plan to reduce the financial impact is of high importance. Cash flow management for dental practices had always been quite complex for the size of the organization.
This is due to various concerns like generating and collecting revenue from both insurance and direct channels, verifying insurance eligibility, maintaining the fee schedules and various other measures to optimize revenue by reducing the rejections and denials.
The biggest challenges faced by dental practices include ensuring effective reimbursements, optimizing upfront patient payments, and bringing overall efficiency in their cash flow management.
But, at a time when you have to be focused on your patients’ safety providing excellent dental care, you should not be sweating over claims management and patient collection. Therefore a comprehensive cash flow analysis reviewing your practice’s RCM is going to be crucial.
Struggles with cash flow management and ways to control them
Cash flow management involved a lot of grunt work even before COVID-19. But with the current state of dental practices in the country, having a cost-efficient and customer-operated payment system looks more promising and flexible from both standpoints- patient and provider.
Through this you could conveniently optimize the payment cycle, reduce administrative burden and increase collections. Thus reducing the practice overhead expenses to get a hold on your revenue income is definitely going to be a great start for your recovery plan.
The six key areas that should lie at the core of your cash flow recovery plan are:
Reducing collection costs:
Keep looking at where the major expenses in the collection are coming from. You might be routing a lot of patients to collection agencies, increasing the cost of collection considerably, when a regular follow-up alone could have solved the issue. It might be the time to check and reduce the errors which have been taking most of your task management time and collection costs.
Raising net collections:
An active and regular follow-up to collect outstanding patient balances is important. This helps to reduce lost production value and adds to your revenue. Focus on increasing net collections by automating follow-ups and reminders and sticking to a routine regular process through two-way communication.
Reducing effort and error:
It is important to confirm dental insurance coverage for specific procedures so that when a patient sits in the dental chair and contemplates a treatment, the costs are at the dentist’s fingertips. This helps faster decision making and reduces errors and hassles.
You can capture eligibility data with smart forms and use it to estimate the patient’s share accurately. The data captured in the eligibility form can further be used to eliminate the inaccuracies prior to claims submission
Increasing speed of collections:
Try to accelerate collections and revisit past-due accounts. Modern solutions provide advanced cash flow management features like automated tools that work to improve dental office billing and follow-up to enhance the speed of collections. Automated ERA postings can also help dentists get a grip on the situation faster.
Patient Acquisition and Retention:
With the safety of your patients at high risk, the reduced numbers in patient visits are going to be real and long-standing. Reducing no shows and cancellations with appointment reminders can be a solution to keep up the revenue stream to an extent.
You can also maintain the appointment volume through telehealth conferencing; consulting your patients through high quality video.
An all-in-one solution for your cash flow management
Not every dental practice or DSO has the right tool in place to manage the cash flow, but it is essential at this time of need. Let us see how you can organize all of the above challenges with a single affordable solution.
Implementing an all-in-one cloud based practice management system with built in revenue cycle management is perhaps an advanced way to bring in effective cash flow management to your office. This is almost a plug and play solution that takes care of everything from cross checking insurance eligibility to sending out payment reminders.
Employing an all-in-one cloud-based practice management software with capabilities for centralization and cash flow management is essential to achieve the full potential of your practice inherent in scale.
How does a cloud-based practice management system help your practice flow?
A cloud-based practice management system provides your practice with the right tools needed to make your communication with patients effortless while seamlessly integrating your cash flow management, to be accessible from anywhere and on any device.
An advanced revenue cycle management takes the burden out of your billing team, letting them focus more on the core duties of the time like patient safety management.
It helps to improve your cash flow rectifying the key areas stated above in a multitude of ways which includes:
- Integrated electronic payments: Securely process debit and credit card transactions using an integrated electronic payment solution.
- Patient credits: Easily add payments and adjustments to all patients in a family during checkout.
- Payment plans: Set up financial agreements for services done over a period of time and use them to create payment plans.
- Finance charges: Apply finance charges to accounts that have overdue payments.
- Fee schedule management: Maintain multiple provider fee schedules across multiple insurance plans.
- E-claims and paper claim: Create and send batch insurance claims for all locations and providers from a central site.
- Carriers and plans: Set up common carrier, plan and code lists to be used across a single or multiple locations.
- Claim tracking and denial management: Monitor responses from the carrier / clearinghouse and notify the users with action items.
- Manual payment posting: Post payments for services done for a patient at a claim level as well as at a code level.
- Collections: Integrate with participating collection agencies for seamless collections management.
- Electronic payment posting: Setup remittance posting rules and auto-post ERA’s. Manual intervention is only required to handle exceptions.
- Statements: Quickly list patients with outstanding dues and send them statements by email or mail and allow patients to pay online.
While you get back into the regular practice workflow, understand how the industry standards have affected post the pandemic and what all will remain for the coming quarters. Review your practice for the cash-flow troubles you had from the inefficient management of vital documentation and invest more in resources that could improve your revenue and assist you to navigate the financial complexities that the pandemic has left behind.