Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Your billing staff
with Sarah Hanna

Q: How do I know if I am under or over staffed in my billing department?

A: HME staffing ratios for billing departments are as follows. Automated: one biller to 500 patient accounts. Manual: one biller to 250 patient accounts. However, along with this rule of thumb, you must consider the following:

1) Employee skill level: More accounts can be given to a highly trained employee than to a less skilled or new employee.

2) Payer mix: The more payers you can bill electronically, the more accounts a biller can handle.

3) Product mix: If your company provides a high ratio of rehab and other complicated products, then the number of patient accounts a biller can work will decrease.

4) The company’s DSO: If your company is within the average industry DSO (57 days), then your biller can handle more accounts.

5) The level of technology in your billing department: If your billing department is using the capabilities of your software and spreadsheet programs to its fullest, then billers can handle more accounts.

Staffing ratios act as a good reference guide, but they cannot fix problems at the root of a high DSO and low cash flow. Many billing departments operate with inefficient processes and a lack of time management. A good training program that helps your billing department work more efficiently will improve your DSO and cash flow and .

Sarah Hanna is the Vice President of ECS Billing & Consulting, Inc. and can be reached at 419-448-5332 or