The climate of shrinking reimbursements, increasing costs and an aging population is placing more demand on ophthalmologists and staff members to develop sound financial management practices.
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Ophthalmic Practice Financial Policy
A successful financial policy clearly communicates procedures and responsibilities, provides a verifiable source of data, and automates the internal workflow to the fullest potential in order to increase cash flow and minimize loss. The key to this process is flexibility, as the medical world changes, the practice responds and changes and moves forward. Read entire article.
Benchmarking is a critical tool to help practices measure efficiency and areas for improvement. Participants are able to compare their financial performance to national and regional averages.
To capitalize on the increasing demand for eye health care created by the oncoming retirement of the baby boomers, practices will need to operate at peak efficiency. Utilizing the benchmarking tools and reports is one way that Academy members can improve efficiency and manage the increased patient volume.
Those Academy and AAOE members who participate in the Academy’s benchmarking survey understand the value of the financial information and comparative analysis that the program provides. In an effort to make the survey and the resulting data more accessible and valuable to members, the Academy is streamlining and redesigning the survey in 2013. The benchmarking survey will be reintroduced in February 2014. The new survey will allow for easier data entry of members’ financial information and fewer, but more critical, benchmarks to use in managing their practices.
Using Benchmarks to Diagnose the Health of Your Practice [PDF 229K] further details the benefits of participating in the Academy’s benchmarking survey and gaining access to the resulting financial comparative data. You must participate in the survey to access the valuable reporting tools.
Look for more information as the Academy benchmarking survey launches anew in February 2014.
Fiscal Year 2011 Reporting Tools are open. Practices that participated in the benchmarking survey in 2012 and have approved data from FY11 (or a previous year) can access the benchmarking reporting tools by clicking the button below.
FY11 Reporting Tools are open for practices with approved data in fiscal year 2011 (or a previous year).
To access the report, you will need to login using your Academy or AAOE login name/password and then enter the Benchmarking login name and password you created when you registered. If you forgot your benchmarking login and/or password use the password recovery feature.
Please note: Identifiers specific to your practice will be stripped from the final data set, and the number of data sets displayed in the reporting tools (either the complete aggregate set or any filtered set as defined by the user) must be equal to or greater than fifteen (15) complete data sets. Reporting Tools are provided to help you interpret your data and are only available to users whose data has been submitted as final and approved.
Understanding Financial Statements
Cash Accounting Versus Accrual Accounting
Financial statements are normally prepared in accordance with what are called generally accepted accounting principles. Although, this term sounds a bit fuzzy, it actually has a very specific meaning: It requires the use of the accrual method of accounting. Under the accrual method, revenue is considered earned and is recognized in statements for the period when the revenue transaction occurred, regardless of when the related cash is collected. So, for example, under the accrual method, a practice’s earnings are posted at the time services are provided. Similarly, expenses are incurred at the moment the liability is incurred, regardless of payment terms. For example, on any given day, a practice’s expenses include the hourly wages earned by staff members that day, even though the payroll funds may be paid out only twice a month, which might be a week or more away. Read entire article.
Alert: Academy and ASCRS Share CMS Guidance to Clarify Medicare Billing for Femtosecond Laser Use
On Nov. 16, 2012, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released guidance [PDF 252K] to clarify when beneficiaries can be billed for non-Medicare-covered services using the femtosecond laser to insert a premium refractive intraocular lens, after cataract surgery.
CMS indicates that it is possible to bill beneficiaries for use of the femtosecond laser for services such as imaging when a premium refractive IOL is implanted, but not when a conventional IOL is used. The agency specifically does not permit billing for the use of femtosecond laser technology in conjunction with Medicare-covered steps of the cataract surgery, such as the phaco incision, capsulotomy and lens fragmentation. CMS is providing the clarification in response to a press release issued by an ophthalmology practice that describes use of bladeless, computer-controlled laser surgery for cataract removal. CMS believes the release may imply a different Medicare policy regarding non-covered services that may be charged to the beneficiary if the cataract surgery is performed by such means.
- Joint guidelines for billing Medicare beneficiaries when using the femtosecond laser. These guidelines were developed by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. For more information, contact: Catherine G. Cohen, American Academy of Ophthalmology vice president of governmental affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.737.6662; or Nancey McCann, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery director of government relations, at email@example.com or 703.591.2220.
Managing Your Practice’s Billing Operation
In assessing the performance of their ophthalmic billing and collections process, the administrator should not only pay particular attention to the core functions of the billing and collection process but also examine certain “ancillary” components that are not typically included in a billing conversation. These ancillary components must function accurately and completely to achieve an efficient and effective billing process.
The business process components include:
- Insurance credentialing
- Patient registration/demographics
- Appointment scheduling
- Insurance verification/preauthorization
- Appointment reminder
- Patient arrival
- Clinical service
- Claims submission
- Receivables management
- Management reporting
Getting the Last 10 Percent: Moving Billing and Collection Performance from Mediocre to Outstanding
The billing and collection process closely resembles the clinical processes used to evaluate and manage a patient’s medical eye problems. During a medical examination, all components of the history and/or exam must be completed. If even one is omitted, an incorrect diagnosis could be made and improper treatment could be initiated, usually with suboptimal results. As an administrator or a practice owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that each step of the business process is carried out correctly and completely, to markedly increase practice revenue. Read more.
Collect Every Last Dollar - Improve Your Billing and Collections Performance
Free Webcast - AAOE Member Benefit
In an era of declining reimbursements, practices cannot afford to let revenue fall through the cracks. Ensure that you are appropriately paid for the services you provide by improving your billing and collections processes and learning the best practices for achieving optimal financial results. View webcast
Top 10 Ways to Improve Medical Collections
While patients expect prompt and professional service from their doctors, they don’t always meet the same standard when it comes to paying their bills. Accounts not paid within specified terms can severely impact the overall cash flow of a practice. A clearly defined, carefully communicated, yet diplomatic payment policy may help avoid difficult collection situations. These 10 simple steps can dramatically improve collection results. Read more.
Just What the Biller Ordered
Browse archive of monthly columns on billing tips by guest columnist, Nancy LaVergne, CPC, OCS — Jackson Eye Associates, PLLC
The Profitable Practice Collection
Developed by AAOE, The Profitable Practice Collection makes mastering key financial management concepts easier. With this seven-module collection, you will learn how to boost your bottom line; convert clinical services to practice income and use data to drive results.
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