Yesterday we established how to find precisely where your private practice is as regards debtors. Now we need to look at the invoicing process.
But Do NOT react to a high level of outstanding invoices by immediately sending hundreds of copies out.
Step back instead and consider if the problem may not be external.
For example, one group of surgeons in a knee jerk reaction when faced with outstanding invoices sent thousands of copies out.
Almost immediately the switchboard lit up. Some callers claimed the original invoice had not been received. Others said it had already been paid or the invoice should have been sent to an insurance company.
Fine. It got a reaction. Sadly, however, only a small percentage of payments were received as a result.
Hence the need to step back and consider the CAUSE of the problem.
Start with how the invoice is delivered to the patient’s insurance company or directly to your patient.
If you haven’t delivered your invoices electronically (by EDI) to an insurance company, you are on the back foot straight away.
EDI is pretty much guaranteed to deliver an invoice to an insurance company.
But if you have already sent the invoices by EDI and they still haven’t been paid it is a good indication your invoices are incorrect.
Contrary to the claims made by some, insurance companies are not the enemy. They will and not willfully withhold payment to a provider. I’ve never known it.
If your invoice is wrong, however – incorrect fee, wrong CCSD code, incomplete patient details, etc – then your invoice will be rejected by an insurance company.
Thus it is most likely an INTERNAL reason why you are not getting paid:
The most common internal reason an invoice is not paid, if you haven’t made sure you have all the right details on your invoice.
How many times have I written: INVOICE RIGHT = GET PAID RIGHT?
This is a must. There is no way round it. It is mandatory. You must tackle it.
Having ensured you are invoicing insurance companies electronically & the data on the invoice is correct, the next item then is an invoice to a self-funding patient.
Invoices to a self-funding patient require pretty much the same amount of detail as those to an insurance company save they need two additional pieces of data on them:
Where they should be paid (your bank details in other words)
and the statement:
That last sentence helps to overcome the single most quoted reason a patient calls and claims he/she has already paid for a consultant’s services.
So by now, you know your invoices both to an insurance company or a self-funder are correct and are being delivered.
In other words, you have by attacking the problem put your practice in the position that it may, very soon, start to attack the level of outstanding or overdue debt.
If the amount of debt is high and/or has been outstanding for a while another day won’t hurt. Next, you need to consider if, when and how you’ve already been paid!