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One billing provider is better than two

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   By Andrew K. Satz, M.D., June 2012

How central Indianaís largest physician anesthesia group streamlined revenue cycle management.

As the largest physician anesthesia group serving central Indiana, Northside Anesthesia Services, LLC (NAS) administers more than 80,000 anesthetics per year. With 80 board-certified anesthesiologists, NASí practice spans three suburban hospitals within the St. Vincent Hospital system and 14 free-standing ambulatory surgery centers. St. Vincent Hospital is a premier U.S. hospital consistently recognized as one of the nationís top 100 hospitals in U.S. News & World Report.

For a prestigious group as large as NAS, revenue cycle management needed to be a streamlined, painless process. This, however, was not the case.

We were employing two outsourced billing agencies simultaneously, one of which was Susan J. Taylor, Inc. (SJT), a long-standing provider of practice-management solutions to the medical community with a proven expertise in anesthesiology. For nearly 20 years, we entrusted SJT with part of our medical billing operations.

Outsourcing billing to two separate agencies was extremely confusing for all parties involved. For example, all contracts had two different locations where checks could be sent, and if the wrong billing company got the wrong check, it delayed the money coming into that doctorís account.

Since SJT had a history of proven revenue cycle management success for our group, we decided to completely outsource our billing operations to the company, while terminating our relationship with the other agency. Shortly thereafter, SJT merged with Zotec Partners, which is currently the largest privately held medical billing provider in the U.S. For years, SJT had licensed Zotec Partnersí Electronic Billing Center (EBC) to help us accomplish better patient care, enhance workflow management, eliminate unnecessary labor, track productivity and get cash in our door.

Together, these companies offered the experience and expertise necessary to increase our income. Now, Zotec Partnersí industry-changing technology and expert billing staff are able to attend to every detail affecting our reimbursement.

Since outsourcing revenue cycle management to Zotec Partners, our revenue stream has remained consistent, which was something we were not able to appreciate in the past.

Every anesthesia practice has databases full of information, but this information is only valuable if it can be accessed and presented in a meaningful way. Zotec Partnersí decision-support data-mining tool allows us to keep a finger on the pulse of our practice.

With the software, we can monitor accounts receivable, denials, charges, payments, net collections and gross collections by location. Decision support allows the company to quickly identify shifts in such areas as cases, carriers and volumes.

Having virtual, real-time access to our reports is huge for our business. I was once in the middle of hospital negotiation at 6 p.m. and needed information by 6 a.m. the next day. Zotec Partners made sure I had the information I needed. Its data-mining ability is outstanding, and when it comes to contract negotiations, itís both necessary and critical.

Another key component to the success of our relationship with Zotec Partners is the personalized service and account management the company provides. The company appointed an experienced account manager to work with our executive members.

Through a process of regular meetings, conference calls and data analysis, the account manager provided an essential communication channel that cemented the partnership. As a result, we are getting much more than revenue cycle management.  

Outsourcing billing to Zotec Partners has also helped our group save money on employees who would otherwise be needed to handle billing operations. Currently, we have no employees in house who handle billing functions, which means fewer salaries.

As cut and dry as it may sound, itís really not even worth us messing with billing. It just makes sense to allow the experts at Zotec Partners to handle this important aspect of our business for us. Our clients deserve the best care, and thatís where our focus and attention needs to be. Not worrying about back-end functions is a huge benefit not only for our staff, but for our patients as well.

About the author

Andrew K. Satz, M.D., is managing member of Northside Anesthesia Services. For more on Zotec Partners, click here.


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