Magazine article Medical Economics

Keeping Up in a Down Economy

Magazine article Medical Economics

Keeping Up in a Down Economy

Article excerpt

In the last 2 years, I've heard innumerable tales about foreclosures, layoffs, and lost insurance from patients. I sympathize, but if I don't keep my business afloat, FlI be joining their chorus of woe. Here are some tips to keep exam rooms and bank accounts full:

* Go the extra mile with deals and value. Offer uninsured patients a 20% to 30% write-off or a discount for payment at time of service. Give your schedulers a list of commonly discounted fees so they can estimate costs for uninsured callers. At visits, offer samples or coupons for brand-name drugs, and switch patients to low- cost generics where available. If patients just can't pay, coordinate transfer to county or charitable resources, offering to welcome them back if fortunes improve.

Also, fewer insurers are paying for modifier 25 (illness care at a wellness exam), so we ask patients to schedule separate well and ill visits or to sign a waiver to ensure our extra work will be paid.

* Revise care and scheduling processes to capture extra revenue. For instance, if you bill for labs drawn in your office, have front desk staff add a previsit lab draw when patients book an appointment. Offer self-pay patients a discount for in- office labs. Use staff, signs, and "on-hold messages" to promote other services- flu shots at autumn visits, wellness exams for ill patients, travel consults, and school and sports physicals.

Be sure to order, document, and bill for indicated procedures when you are in with the patient- cerumen removal, eletrocardiography, spirometry, vaccines, and labs. …

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