Payment posting is a critical step of the revenue cycle management of any solo practitioner or healthcare organization. It involves posting and deposit functions and reconciling posting activities with deposits. The payment posting process affects many other functions of the medical office and can have a major impact on patient satisfaction, efficiency, and overall financial performance.
Payment posting also provides insight into a practice’s daily revenue stream and helps practice's promptly catch potential issues and make corrections. It your practice to be able to see daily insurance payments from EOBs, insurance checks from ERAs, patient payments and more. And having an efficient payment posting system provides an efficient view of your day to day financial picture.
How important is accurate payment posting?
Having medical billing process issues are expected since the process involves several steps and a large number of claims that are processed daily. That's why paying attention to the whole process can greatly reduce the issues. If your team does their job well, your payment posters will be diligent about uncovering trends behind denials for medical necessity, non-covered services, and prior authorizations. And they should move any issues up the chain to be handled with other members of the coding and billing team.
In addition, catching issues quickly makes the entire process smoother for everyone involved from the front office to the back office staff.
How does payment posting fit in the revenue cycle?
Payment posting should be an integral part of the revenue cycle, regardless of whether you bill in-house or use a third party billing service.
A well-done payment posting process can help you identify opportunities to increase revenue by watching for daily trends within your practice. Because payment posting has such high potential to increase profits and smooth out the overall medical billing process, it is important to get a precise process in place.
Here are six ways payment posting can make your billing process more efficient and ultimately increase revenue:
- EOB and ERA posting and reconcilement - ensure data from both EOB’s and ERA’s match payments.
- Handling denials - report and reroute denied claims to the appropriate coding and denial management team for rework and re-submission to payers in a timely manner.
- Patient responsibility - identify and move balances to the patient's responsibility helps to ensure faster patient billing.
- Write-offs and adjustments - process write-offs and adjustment and report any unusual contractual adjustments while processing payment.
- In person collection issues - provide inputs on trends in denials, non-covered services, prior authorizations, and deductibles or co-payment collection issues at the point of service.
How to evaluate the payment posting process
Receiving checks from your payers doesn't mean that everything’s fine. You should still evaluate your payment posting process on a periodic basis. Here are some tips for a careful review.
Start with your staff
Any evaluation of your payment posting process should begin with your employees. You need enough staff -- and the right staff. Staff levels should be based on volume, not merely the number of practitioners who happen to be working at the practice.
In addition to having enough staff, it pays to have the right staff. Accuracy and productivity are essential in the billing process given the volume of payments handled by most practices. So, take the time to check references when hiring posters, and use your instincts when interviewing candidates.
Keep your eyes peeled
While hiding unprocessed checks may be the sign of overworked staff, stealing from you is a serious crime. Yet it happens at some practices. Without any oversight, employees can get very creative.
So, in order to avoid this wrongdoing, you should separate duties wherever staffing distributions allow it, look over the daily billing and collection records, and use your intuition about suspicious activities. Also, be prudent about granting authority to give discounts or write-off money.
Watch your write-offs
Be sure that your billing system allows you to post payments on a line-item basis, and that your staff is doing so. Bulk posting will not allow you to research any concerns or questions you have regarding payment posting.
You should also require staff to use specific write-off codes, and be sure that employees don't simply write off money to "Medicare contractual." It is possible for an employee to pick a check from the stack to be posted, sign it over to his/herself, forge your signature, and deposit it in his/her account. Since many banks still allow third-party endorsement and the account can just be written off as a contractual allowance, your employee may get away with this embezzlement quite easily.
Therefore, employ a quarterly auditing process as part of your performance review of billing staff. Dig into write-offs to make sure that employees are not automatically writing off money that could be collected.
Before your staff writes off money that the insurance company claims is a contractual allowance, arm employees with information about what you should get paid so that they can flag and follow up on any variances. Moreover, verify the accuracy of each refund request before issuing it.
Time really is money
There is a saying that goes “It’s better to have a dollar today than a dollar tomorrow”, so get your payments posted and deposited quickly. If you don’t post the payment quickly, your billing system may automatically send a statement, even though the patient already paid. You'll either create a refund (if the patient pays again) or receive an angry call from a patient -- either way, it costs you money and tarnishes your level of service a bit.
One way to increase promptness is to take advantage of available technology. Many insurance carriers offer electronic payment remittance and funds transfer. Electronic remittance means payments are posted directly to your billing system; electronic funds transfer means they are posted directly to your bank account.
Accurate payment posting is the implication of overall efficiency and infrastructure. The medical billing services that DrCatalyst, specifically our payment posting service, provides offers accuracy and helps sort out the reason for low inflows. Feel free to get in touch with our billing experts and improve your overall medical billing and payment posting process.