Patient billing processes for community health centers (CHCs) and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) is not only a daunting, but also a very confusing task that calls for a creative combination of resources and strategic-minded approach.
Since most common patients of these health centers are usually underprivileged and low-income, fulfilling patient billings is a true battle that is essential to survive.
If you work for or own a FQHC or a CHC that is in a dire need of improving on its complex billing process, explore the following four creative and highly effective patient billing for FQHCs and CHCs.
1. Collecting co-payments prior to providing medical services
Before a patient visits the doctor of the center, the front-door staff should clearly communicate with the patient and audit his/her billing and personal information during registration. This will allow the center to collect the co-pay immediately and later concentrate on collecting any remaining receivable from Medicare, insurance companies and Medicaid.
Following this simple billing strategy will allow a center to realize higher collections. Centers should therefore restructure their staff and internal processes in order to put these collection systems into place. Ensure you collect between 90-95% of the total co-pays in advance.
2. Integrating credentialing protocols
Credentialing is one of the most important component of realizing the right amount of money from your patients and their health care systems. Initiating a perfect credentialing protocol or system enables FQHCs and CHCs to closely monitor progress of collecting submissions and to review all billing details. In other words, credentialing helps in keeping all information together in one place.
3. Maintaining accurate health records electronically
FQHCs and CHCs can simply patient care, make accessing patients’ data easier and improve on overall patient engagement through maintaining complete information about each and every patient, their financial information and health electronically. EHRs (electronic health records) are best when stored online through the cloud, or using software solutions.
Do some research on the best EHR software platform for your center’s billing efforts. It is important to use the most recent software for CHC and FQHC billing. Medical billing rules are constantly changing and these software automatically update with changes in these rules.
A medical billing consultant can also provide great opportunities and unlimited access to a wide range of EHR software.
4. Collecting full patient information
Collecting full patient information increases billing efficiency. It is therefore important that you take your time and ensure that patient’s information is both accurate and complete. Take a patient’s full name, address, date of birth, multiple phone numbers and work information.
This information is usually critical when working with insurance companies and as a part collection procedure in case the patient ignores payment requests. Ensure you also get the patient’s social security number as it may be helpful when you want to turn non-payments to a collector.
FQHCs and CHCs should implement effective billing procedures and policies in order to increase revenue, lower costs and improve patient care and satisfaction. The above discussed four creative billing procedures will help you achieve these goals.