Rein in your accounts receivable

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In a reimbursement environment where every penny counts, HME providers can't afford to let their accounts receivable (AR) get out of control. But they do. The good news: There are a number of fairly easy ways to rein it in, says Andrea Stark, a reimbursement consultant for Columbia, S.C.-based MiraVista.

Make sure AR reps are dedicated

The first thing on that list: Providers need to make sure AR associates are exactly that, AR associates.

"Many of the companies out there say, 'AR is my top priority,'" said Stark in an interview airing on HME News TV this month. "But they have their AR reps not completely dedicated to the process. If they're having to deal with patient inquiries, having to do setups--the more tasks you add to an AR associate's job, the less time they're going to have to get their job done."

Employ tools of the trade

Providers also need to make sure they have the right tools to do the job well, Stark says. One of those tools: technology to determine patient eligibility.

"Clean claims start from the beginning," she said. "A lot of denials result from eligibility issues. Patients change insurances all the time. They go into hospice or the hospital. The provider is not the first to find out that these changes have taken place."

Know your payers well

Other tools include technologies to check the status of claims and analyze payer lists.

"We have insurance lists within our software systems that have grown year by year," she said. "But we're not very good about going back and making sure it's up to date. Do you have the right address? Because that's the biggest thing that happens--we send out paper claims then you call on the status and they've gone to the wrong place."

To watch the video, go to