The end of the year is always a hectic time for any organization especially because of the holidays. As the 2012 is coming to an end, it is important to remember that it’s not just about the holidays. The end of 2012 is a reminder that the beginning of 2013 is right around the corner.
There are several things that the medical office must do to prepare for the New Year and creating an end of year checklist can help to organize and prioritize these tasks. When creating your end of year checklist, keep the following topics in mind:
Aged accounts are outstanding patient accounts that are over 30 days. An important management tool that measures aged accounts is the accounts receivable report. The accounts receivable, or AR, report is designed to analyze the financial health of the medical office. Using the discharge date of the patient account, the AR report calculates the length of time it takes for medical claims to get paid.
In order to get your aged claims paid, there are different things that can be done by the billing staff during different time intervals. Read more about aged claims.
Planning ahead for tax season can ensure that your medical office will be ready. There are a few things you can do between now and the end of the year to prepare for tax season 2012.
- Gather all of the data and documents that your accountant will need to file your taxes
- Purchase any equipment, software, or supplies for your medical office to include on your tax return to help reduce your tax bill
- Make a donation to your favorite, qualified charity for an eligible tax credit
- Pay up any outstanding bills for 2012 to include on your tax return as a business expense
Any outstanding Medicare and Medicaid claims from the beginning of 2011 are nearing its timely filing deadline. Have your medical billing staff follow-up on or re-file any outstanding Medicare or Medicaid claims to avoid losing out on any revenue.
Effective January 1, 2010, CMS reduced the timely filing limit for Medicare claim submission to one calendar year from the date of service. If your claim is not received by the deadline, your claim will be denied. Claims that deny due to timely filing do not meet the initial determination requirement and are not subject to appeal.
Following up on these older claims, also gives your medical billers a chance to clean up any old accounts receivables to have a fresh start in the New Year.
The beginning of each year brings about the start over of patient deductibles. This is a great opportunity to boost your annual revenue, lessen collection fees, and decrease your bad debt. Requesting money from a sick patient for some people seems insensitive, however, it must be understood that health care costs money. Although it may be a touchy topic, collecting upfront payment from your patients is a necessary aspect that needs to be addressed.
Be sure to educate patients, in advance, of their financial responsibility. When calling patients to confirm their upcoming appointment, make sure you remind them to bring their driver’s license or other form of ID, their up-to-date insurance card, and advise them that they will be expected to pay their estimated responsibility prior to treatment.
Re-evaluate Your Mission, Vision and Values
As your medical office experiences growth or change, don’t forget that it may be necessary to review your mission, vision and values statements. Many businesses often fail to consider that the direction of their organization has changed since its conception.
Failure to evaluate your mission, vision, and values may result in your organization getting off track. If necessary, you may consider rewriting them to reflect the new direction of your medical office. Ask the following questions:
- Are there new products and services that the medical office is offering?
- Is there a new or different market that needs to be considered?
- Is the medical office continuing to meet the needs of the community?
- Does the quality of patient care provided continue to meet or exceed expectations?
These are just a few examples. Consider the direction of your medical office and come up with a list of your own.