Audits take their toll on finances, according to poll

Friday, January 17, 2014

YARMOUTH, Maine – If you use accounts receivable (A/R) to paint a picture of the financial health of HME providers, what you see doesn’t look very good, according to the results of the latest HME Newspoll.

A majority of the 46 respondents to the poll—55%—said the portion of their A/R that is at least 60 days old was larger at the end of 2013 than it was at the end of 2012.

“Audits and delay tactics by all payers are driving up our A/R beyond a reasonable level,” said one respondent.

In other bad news: 53% of respondents said at least 20% of their A/R was more than 60 days old. 

David Chestnut is another provider seeing his A/R grow and, again, the culprit is audits.

“The largest factor is the pre-pay and post-pay audits,” he said.

While the majority of respondents said audits have had the biggest negative impact on their A/R, they also cited payment delays by state Medicaid programs.

“Illinois Public Aid (is) behind nine months to a year; private insurers (are) “developing” every claim—requesting documentation for almost all claims, (they) may as well go back to paper billing and attaching it on the front end; and increased Medicare pre-pay review,” one respondent said. “DME is a tough industry these days.”

To help alleviate these difficulties, some respondents said they have changed their billing systems or hired billing specialists.

The rest of the poll holds a bit of better news: A very slight majority of respondents says their DSO has decreased in 2013 compared to 2012; and a very slight majority says they collected a larger percentage of balances owed by patients in 2013 vs. 2012.