The Accounts Receivable department of your hospital may not be the heartbeat, but it’s certainly an important element to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. But there are any number of things that can slow down your A/R department, causing hiccups that lead to some dire straits, in the cases of some hospitals. How can you be sure that your A/R department is running as efficiently as possible? Consider some of the following points, and audit its performance.
There’s a lot of thought that goes into planning and pricing different procedures to make sure that doctors are spending their time wisely. But that same thought doesn’t always go into how the other employees of a hospital are spending their time. The support staff—specifically accounts receivable representatives—could be spending a lot of time chasing their tails instead of actually closing accounts.
By implementing time sheets that require employees to outline how they’re spending their time, you can determine each employee’s effectiveness. Are they spending too much time arguing with patients who aren’t paying bills? Spending too little time looking for insurance opportunities? A time sheet can give you insight into your employees’ time when you can’t be there to see what they’re doing, and also give you an operating cost per transaction to track as well.
A big part of interacting with patients—especially as they continue to shop around for their healthcare—is bedside manner. It’s necessary for doctors to have it if they want to keep their patients and get them to come back. It’s also important for other employees of the hospital to have it. To keep patient satisfaction high, one thing comes first: simply being nice.
Frustration comes easily when you’re dealing with patients who aren’t paying their bills, but yelling, threatening, and making unlawful claims aren’t going to help you close the account. A/R reps should be on the sunnier side of things, with a happier disposition, and patience is a virtue.
Number of Employees
Simply put: do you have more employees than you need, or too few? The best way to figure this out is to look at transaction turnover. Take the number of transactions processed each day (invoices, deductions, payments, payment plan enrollment, etc.), and divide it by the number of employees in the accounts receivable department. Higher numbers usually mean efficiency.
Too many employees translate into wasted money. On the other hand, it’s easy for too few employees to get overwhelmed, which bogs the process down even more. The formula above can help you find the sweet spot for your hospital.
Interested in learning more about how your hospital can close accounts receivable in a timely manner? Contact HCM today to learn how we can help.