The expenses for certain medical services rendered to the patient by the provider or medical billing company get billed during the medical billing process. These costs are referred to as Accounts Receivable, or AR. Despite the size of the business, it is essential to ensure that an effective method of maintaining the collection of account receivables is adopted to avoid strain in the revenue cycle.
The complete procedure right from identifying un-paid or denied claims, re-submission of the accurate claims, minimizing the AR period, and cleaning up the old account receivables are referred to as Accounts Receivable Management. In this blog, we shall discuss the various challenges faced during the accounts receivable process.
Most Common Accounts Receivable Challenges
It is a well-known fact that the pending or outstanding accounts receivable block the cash flow, which causes a strain on the revenue cycle. In some instances, several new credits are implemented to ensure a sufficient increase in the patient count and to acquire patient loyalty.
On-time payment –To receive on-time payments, it is essential to streamline the revenue collecting strategy. We should ensure that every invoice with proper terms is sent timely. Automated invoice delivery speeds up the collections to a reasonable extent. Also, providing various modes of payments plays a crucial role in collecting on-time payments and increases the chances of retaining the customer.
Customers get encouraged to make on-time payments if they receive specific discounts. Also, if penalties are set for late payments, the customer is more likely to make on-time payments.
Minimize The DSO– If the day’s sales outstanding (DSO) are high; the customers are taking way too much time to settle their debts which is a significant challenge. So in such cases, it is better to provide sustainable credit plans for you and not more than you can afford. Also, opting for an enhanced financial plan or a new protocol helps you maintain and retain your customer while getting paid.
Setting up different payment modes plays a vital role in making it easier for the customer and receiving on-time payments.
Nurture Patient-provider Relationship Despite Regular Late Payments –Make sure your customers enjoy a positive experience and navigate your AR process smoothly and enjoy customer retention during this billing and payment. Not all customers make on-time payments owing to various reasons. Rather than focusing only on the daily operational tasks, it is encouraged to ensure the customers’ needs are attended to, offering them flexible and convenient ways to get the invoice and make your payments.
In the case of regular late payments, you should adopt streamlined strategies to help the customer while you get paid. Delivery of invoice and payment modes must have a wide variety of options and also support the customers to customize their preferences through online customer portals. Sending regular automated reminders at each milestone of the AR process is a smart move. You could offer them specific credit plans and discounts if they make on-time or earlier payments. And setting penalties to avoid late payments in some cases is necessary too.
Weak Ledger Organization & Management –Organizing the invoices is a massive challenge as they offer total visibility, which plays a vital role in AR management. Only through this, we will have a clear picture of how much money we are owed, who owes it to us and an approximate date they are expected to pay us. In the case of poorly maintained accounts receivable management, the chances of cash-flow deficiency are pretty high.
Automating the AR process is a great relief. Paperless digitizing helps to simplify the AR process. Maintaining consolidated information in a single place makes the process much easier as you can easily access data. Opting for end-to-end tools is a wise choice to facilitate the whole AR process.
Carrying out audits consistently aids in identifying the abnormal credit limits holding customers, the discount rates, if any, and the various payment terms.
Poor Communication With The Patients –Right from the start, it is essential to have a good point of contact and several communication channels which play a vital role in receiving payments on time. In order to maintain a robust flow of information, all communications with the customer and the different communication channels must be tracked and monitored.
Frequently updating the information in the customers’ records helps mail the invoices to the correct address and thereby receives timely payments. Also, sending reminders throughout all the stages of the billing is recommended. Finally, it’s essential to implement the various automation tools designed specifically for accounts receivable. Doing so lets you know when you have to contact the customer in case of any approaching date in the billing process.
Absence Of Suitable Policies –While welcoming new customers and ensuring that the customer database is consistently growing, one crucial thing is overlooked. Not so practical and unsuitable policies are being in use for AR management. Probably a member who is not a part of the finance team innocently suggests making use of a new payment option or giving a credit incentive. They might have presented it without considering the possible effects it could have on the accounts receivable process.
In such cases, having a standardized credit policy is incredibly beneficial. Using them makes it much easier to discern between the potential and non-potential customers. Hence it is highly recommended to re-evaluate and streamline the AR policies.