A large group practice also has more time to develop strong business processes. Since a physician is focused on providing care to patients, he or she may not have the bandwidth to engage in these activities. For example, we dedicated a lot of time to identifying an EHR and revenue cycle management partner (NextGen Healthcare) that matched our organiza- tional goals for growth and effi ciency. We worked to defi ne processes and procedures for billing that addressed various scenarios. Furthermore, we defi ned how accounts receivable would be managed, set a cutoff time for write-off s, detailed a denials management policy and outlined cash collection procedures. By putting in this work upfront, all our practices benefi t from a smoother revenue cycle process, demonstrated by our days in accounts receivable, which hovers around 20 days. Fundamentally, our business model allows practices to focus on providing patient care while the corporate offi ce takes care of the rest. We deploy technology, off er training, make any upgrades and keep track of changing regulations. Not only does this reduce the burden on the practice, but integrated technology, coupled with outsourced revenue cycle management, fosters better communication among practi- tioners, allowing for seamless data exchange and enhancing the effi ciency of revenue cycle processes.
Overcoming doubts At fi rst, a private practice might be skeptical about es-
chewing responsibility for business processes, feeling that it is hard to eff ectively manage the revenue cycle without actually touching the money. However, a practice can turn over the business functions to another entity and still keep tabs on performance. For example, we receive regular reports from NextGen Healthcare that describe revenue cycle activities in detail. We share those reports with all our practices so they can see fi rsthand how billing and collections are working. T is allows practices to monitor business processes without having to do the work themselves. Our partner has the staff and resources to effi ciently support and enhance the revenue cycle, maintaining a standard that is beyond what the typical private practice could accomplish on its own.
Make a careful choice Private practices are going to have to make some tough choices in the near future. Taking time and reviewing options are important steps toward entering into partnerships that meet your long-term business goals. Working with a large group practice may be a valid choice, given that this model off ers the ability to maintain clinical autonomy while improving revenue cycle effi ciency and leveraging technology.
HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY