5 Ways to Increase Client Payments

Here are some easy-to-implement ways to increase payments from your clients to keep your bottom line healthy.

Even Out Your Revenue Stream and Reduce the Stress of Managing Fixed Expenses

As a behavioral, mental health, or substance abuse treatment practitioner or practice owner, your monthly expenses are mostly fixed. On the other hand, your monthly income — which depends heavily on insurance companies’ claims processing and payment schedules — can be inconsistent and vexingly difficult to predict.

This situation can be stressful for a practice owner. But when employees have put their own financial fate and professional growth in your hands, it’s understandable that thoughts of keeping your business financially viable weigh on your mind almost as much as the welfare of your patients.

You aren’t the first business owner to face this worry and you don’t have to overcome it alone. Instead, implement these 3 strategies to achieve a more regular revenue stream.

#1

Implement Consistent Processes for Posting, Billing, and Clinician Pay

No one becomes a behavioral, mental health, or chemical dependency clinician to track their time, double-check insurance codes, and file endless paperwork. But you cannot know how to pay your clinicians if you cannot bill insurance companies for their work.

Without processes for posting and billing, you’ll end up facing one of two less-than-ideal choices:

  •  Pay clinicians before you are paid by the insurance company and you might end up
    overpaying for claims that are denied.
  • Wait to pay clinicians until the insurance company pays you and you have trouble
    retaining employees who cannot afford to wait for their paychecks.

Set clear expectations about how often you expect your clinicians to post their billable client appointments. If you haven’t had rules about posting in the past, explain why you are implementing them now and how it will benefit them for the practice to improve its cash flow. Then make sure you lead by example, posting on the same schedule you expect your clinicians to follow.

#2

Practice Good Claims Denial Management

While it may seem like you’re at the mercy of insurance companies, there are a number of steps you can take to maximize your revenue by minimizing your practice’s number of claim denials and taking steps to reverse some of the denials that you aren’t able to prevent.

  • Make sure that your facility, your clinicians, and you are all credentialed and registered with all the insurance companies whose plans you intend to accept. Keep in mind, too, that all credentialing and registrations need to be reviewed for lapses every
    year.
  • If you plan to offer chemical dependency treatment, pay attention to your clients’ insurance authorizations and request reauthorizations for additional sessions before you reach the authorization limit.
  • Establish a thorough intake process, including a check to confirm that a client’s insurance is active and that it covers the services they are seeking. Also, get in the habit of checking coverage regularly during treatment to make sure it hasn’t lapsed or substantively changed.
  • If you offer chemical dependency treatment, insurance companies expect to be billed one time for Multiple sessions for one client that all take place on the same day. If you submit one claim for two of those sessions on August 18 and then submitted a second claim for the remaining two sessions on August 27, your second claim would likely be denied as a “duplicate.” Put all daily sessions for an individual client on one claim to ensure full payment and eliminate the likelihood of a denial and ensure that you are fully compensated.
  • Don’t let your claims pile up for “when I have time.” Set time aside and mark it on your calendar — preferably at the end of every day — to file all claims that insurance companies allow to be filed daily. (There are some exceptions. Some residential facilities are mandated by some insurance companies to file claims monthly instead.) Every insurance company has the right to set its own “timely filing” standards — from 90 to 120 to 365 days or more. By billing daily, you will ensure that you have time to fight denials and re-submit claims before the clock runs out on any insurance company’s deadline for timely filing.
  • If you are billing for substance abuse treatment, always double check the billing code and make sure it matches the insurance company’s authorization code.
  • Follow up on all denials to find out why the claim has been denied and get as many denials reversed as possible.
  • Every insurance company with which you are registered will have a different contract rate. Know your rates and track all of your payments against them to ensure that you are being paid your full contract rate.
  • Track your claims and match them to your insurance payments.
  • Take your entire billing and payment process digital. Submitting claims digitally is always faster and often required by insurance companies. You can still accommodate insurance companies that only allow claims to be submitted by paper by printing out and mailing your digital forms — while you gain peace of mind knowing that you’ve captured your claim electronically and can easily re-submit it if an insurance company claims not to have received it, or denies it for any other reason.
  • Keep up with all industry changes, from authorization codes to changes in individual insurance companies’ timely filing deadline, and more.

#3

Run Reports Regularly to Ensure Efficient Billing

How many clients are your clinicians seeing? Are they following your clinic’s process for posting their client appointments? Is your staff tracking their time? To ensure that you always know the answers to these questions, try these practices:

  • Invest in professional systems that allow you to pull reports and gain visibility into the daily workings of your practice.
  • Develop an onboarding system for all clinicians and staff who join your practice that teaches them how to use your business systems and clarifies your expectations about following the business processes you’ve put in place to protect your business.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a practitioner and business owner spending a disproportionate amount of your time pouring over balance sheets, chasing revenue, and sweating payroll, these three strategies can be a game changer. Implement them today to level out the ups and downs of cash flow, so you can spend your time pouring yourself into your patients’ care instead.

Ready to learn more about managing cash flow?

Schedule a complimentary phone call with our team to discuss your goals!

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We Promise

To assign one representative to your practice who will listen to you, learn from you, and serve you. 

To pursue payment on every claim denial, writing off that revenue only after we’ve pursued all possible avenues of resolution. 

To act in good faith by charging you only 6 percent of your collected revenues and zero startup costs, assuming a shared financial risk, and providing an additional incentive for us to advocate for your best interests.