What’s the “linchpin” of dental practice efficiency? That depends. But in your experience you’ll probably realize it has more to do with a variety of best-practices – including fee schedule efficiency and management.
Effective dental practice productivity involves many working-parts. But each form a well-oiled machine of sorts that delivers more responsive patient engagement…and a more profitable revenue cycle.
Why fee schedule efficiency is vital to your practice revenue cycle management and overall productivity
First, if you’re a fee-for-service practice or one that relies on other insurance-free strategies…no worries. Though for most practices it’s necessary to keep an eye on insurance.
For example, if you’re a PPO office you perhaps already realize that collecting full fees isn’t going to happen. This makes it essential to keep tabs on your fee schedules with as much routine workflow efficiency as possible.
- Guard your cash flow
- Monitor revenue cycles
- Update your fee schedule as necessary
As you’re likely aware, your core practice financial metrics such as productions and collections are based on insurance fees not your full fees. Thus, any changes to your fee schedule will affect your cash-on-hand and the overall health of your business.
How to improve your fee schedule efficiency and boost your revenue cycle management
Dental practice workflows – in this instance – are more than a line-item accounting system. Updating your fee schedule can improve workflows and lead to better patient engagement.
Give your fee schedule some “love!”
1. Clarify and confirm billing code accuracy
Dental procedures can have a variety of layers. Their complexity can create equally complex billing issues.
As you know…each treatment requires a specific task or series of tasks. And each task can be defined by a certain billing code.
- Dissect each procedure for accurate, error-free claims submission
- Reduce claim payment timeframes and rejections
- Get reimbursed for the full procedure by including all necessary codes
2. Nail-down pre-payment amounts (if you use them)
It’s a good idea to have some form of a pre-payment strategy (if you don’t already). Your cash flow will appreciate it!
One caveat: update your fee schedule…or you could discover that pre-payment estimates won’t match with treatment costs.
- Low pre-payment amounts = low collections and cash flow totals
- High pre-payment amounts = patient frustration and a potential loss of trust
A solution: keep pre-payment amounts aligned with each procedure when you update your fee schedule.
3. Be transparent in your patient communication
Transparency helps drive consumer trust. Your dental patients are no exception.
You can avoid patient frustration if you provide them information that matches what their insurance provider is communicating to them.
- Communicate fee schedule updates so your patients are looped into the changes.
- Confirm updates in your PM platform’s patient portal (patient-facing technology is essential to good patient communication).
And speaking of patient-facing solutions…
- Provide your patients an online option to update their insurance information prior to an appointment.
4. Automate your workflows to increase productivity
Confirming billing codes and changes to them