As a behavioral health specialist, you know that financial issues are a big source of stress in your patients’ personal lives. But if you find yourself or your front office staff bogged down in billing and slogging through denied and frustrated claims, chances are you’re feeling some stress about cash flow, too.
Financial stressors within the independent practice show up in all sorts of ways. In mental health professions, profit margins are admittedly smaller than those in other health and medical fields. When we try to lead from a place of money stressors, relationships with staff may evidence increased tension. Additionally, practice leaders can be hard on themselves, allowing their frustrations to cause self-doubt or to wonder if their efforts are worth it. Trying to play catch up can mean extra long days and even weekends in the office, and time at home with the family can dwindle.
What causes financial fails? The inability to find a path forward. What you need is a proactive, systematic approach to practice management. To turn the situation around, a new approach to money in your behavioral health, substance abuse, or psychiatric practice is needed, as well as a clear understanding of which tasks have the highest value moving forward.
Below are 13 common ways your practice may be leaking money. If you check the box on even one of these items, chances are you’re losing thousands of dollars each year.
Do you and your practice find that you…
- don’t collect what you’re owed from insurance companies
- are locked into “cash only” payments
- don’t code correctly, giving away tons of time and revenues
- know the website is outmoded and doesn’t attract new patients
- keep records on paper: statements, checks, credit card information, and more
- carry a lot of “bad debt” that you have no idea how to collect
- claims are being denied, or they’re not being filed in a timely manner
- coding practices leave a lot to be desired, but you’re afraid to upgrade
- use E.H.R. software that isn’t up to current codes and requirements
- continue with inefficient systems throughout payment and claims processing
- have disorganized staff, failing to verify patient information, insurance, and balances due
- see patients who are unaware they have payment options
- track pending claims and payments in ways both inefficient and cumbersome
How many boxes did you check? If things are worse than you thought, let’s talk.
Debbie Henderson, CEO, is a leading U.S. practice management consultant known for her ability to transform her clients’ practices and revenues so they can take back their passion and their lives. Learn more about her work at www.