What are the top challenges facing small- to medium-sized, independent physicians as they fight to maintain their independence and compete with the large, corporate providers? This month, we are looking at the top 10 challenges, so please join us for this informative series and tune back in every Tuesday! If you're reading this post first, please go back and read Part 2 from last week and Part 1 from the week before, where we looked at why doctors should even be fighting the battle for independence, as well as challenges one through seven (high insurance claim rejections, slow reimbursements, and clunky, user-unfriendly, overpriced EMR systems, high merchant services costs, scheduling nightmares, struggling with HIPAA and coding compliance, and dealing with old paper files ). Let's move on to causes eight through ten today!
8) Bad debt. Doctors often hate talking about money. What they hate even more? Chasing it. Nobody likes asking people for money, and doing so aggressively often alienates patients. But it’s hard enough operating a profitable practice without having tens, sometimes hundreds, of thousands of dollars in bad debt. That’s why we offer QuickCollect, a soft approach to collecting from patients, and one that allows you to maintain full visibility and control. Eighty percent of all patients who ever will pay, do pay through this process. It relieves your staff from this troublesome burden but without doing traditional collections, which has a low success rate.
9) Marketing. Large, corporate providers have marketing budgets in the six- to seven-figure range. How can a smaller provider compete with that? Again, we bring technology to the table to solve a problem. We offer AutoCard, an automated mailer marketing service to help doctors stay in touch with their patient base and even market to prospective patients. In an age when it seems that most emails are ignored and/or go to the spam folder, physical mailers are the new email. It’s both affordable and effective.
10) Verifying benefits. You often find even smaller practices dedicating up to half a headcount solely to this task. That number should be exactly ZERO. With the right technology, you should have this process fully automated. Our iClaim solution solves benefits verifications with the push of a single button. No more phone calls, no more chasing. And that also means fewer denials.
So how successfully is YOUR practice facing these challenges? If you could use help, contact us today to set up a free, no-obligation, 30-minute practice analysis. We will either show you how we will add more value than we cost, or we simply won't ask for your business.
What are the top challenges facing small- to medium-sized, independent physicians as they fight to maintain their independence and compete with the large, corporate providers? This month, we are looking at the top 10 challenges, so please join us for this informative series and tune back in every Tuesday! If you're reading this post first, please go back and read Part 1 from last week, where we looked at why doctors should even be fighting the battle for independence, as well as challenges one through three (high insurance claim rejections, slow reimbursements, and clunky, user-unfriendly, overpriced EMR systems). Let's move on to causes four through seven today!
4) High merchant services costs. Not a lot of physicians think about this one, but it’s yet another way smaller providers pay more than larger providers. Many smaller practices pay well over 3% on credit card transactions and can’t even take online payments. We have changed all that. By leveraging the buying power of thousands of doctors, we get rates as low as 1.79% on merchant services for Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. And we can help doctors accept payments online and even offer a free, full-service patient portal. All in a fully HIPAA-compliant payment solution designed especially for doctors.
5) Scheduling nightmares. Unlike the larger providers, many smaller practices do not offer online scheduling. And they often find that their waiting room times are unpredictable and unmanageable, leading to decreased patient satisfaction. Again, we bring technology to bear to solve this: we offer a system that not only allows for online scheduling, but even helps doctors optimize their patients’ waiting room experience and reduces patient dissatisfaction by minimizing waiting room times.
6) Struggling with HIPAA and coding compliance. This is a constant challenge for all providers, but it hits smaller providers harder because the costs of compliance are higher in relation to their revenue, especially if they manage compliance entirely in house. We can help doctors get and stay HIPAA compliant and we also do coding audits to ensure they aren’t overcoding (dangerous!) or undercoding (costly!). By outsourcing this, smaller providers can leverage the expertise they need but at a cost they can afford.
7) Drowning in paper. While most practices are trending towards paperless environments thanks to EMR systems, many still have large volumes of old paper files they have to manage. It’s not just costly to store these, it’s also a giant HIPAA-violation waiting to happen. We have a solution that is a very cost-effective hybrid: by partnering with local, secured-site records companies and using our own iDocsNow technology, we can help smaller providers get rid of all paper in their offices. For files they don’t need to access very often (potentially ever), we can have the documents stored for as little as $0.30 per box per month, then have them safely destroyed once they no longer need to be maintained. For paper files the office may need to access more frequently, we can have them scanned and entered into iDocsNow, our paperless file management system that converts paper files into OCR-based, fully searchable PDFs in our Cloud system. Then, going forward, any new paper files would be scanned into the system and destroyed immediately. We can even provide discounted pricing on HIPAA-compliant shredders.
Tune in next week as we look at causes eight through ten!
What are the top challenges facing small- to medium-sized, independent physicians as they fight to maintain their independence and compete with the large, corporate providers? Over coming weeks, we are going to look at the top 10 challenges, so please join us for this informative series and tune back in every Tuesday!
First of all, why should independent physicians even try to maintain their freedom? Isn’t the corporate takeover of our healthcare system inevitable? In 2018, employed physicians outnumbered independent physicians for the first time ever, according to Medical Economics. Many independent physicians are despairing that selling out is just a question of when, not if. That’s especially true in the era of Obamacare and MACRA, when the increased rules and regulations are making it more and more challenging for physicians to operate confidently and profitably while complying with all the Byzantine rules.
But it’s a fight worth fighting! Studies show patients of small- to medium-sized independent physicians fare better. Medscape recently highlighted several studies that bear this out. Smaller practices have “ambulatory care-sensitive admission rates fully 33% lower” and lower overall costs for care for diabetes, for example.
So we need to win this battle for our patients. But how? Let’s look at the biggest issues the independent doctors face.
1) High insurance claim rejection rates. On average, 34% of all insurance claims submitted to the insurance companies are initially rejected. Many are eventually paid out, but only after resubmitting, often multiple times. When you consider that each reworked claim adds an average of $25 in cost to the practice, you can see how this is one of the biggest burdens for small providers. But isn’t that just how the game is played? You submit, they reject, you resubmit? Many practices, even smaller ones, have entire headcounts dedicated to nothing but fighting this battle. But they don’t have to! In fact, it makes no sense to. Doing your own claims, especially if you are doing them manually, makes zero financial sense for providers with under 25 staff. The math simply doesn’t add up. Using a resource like Fast Layne Solutions solves this in two ways: it brings advanced Revenue Cycle Management technology to bear on the problem (thus slashing that rejection rate to under 2%) and brings economies of scale to bear to cut your claims management costs by on average 60%.
2) Slow reimbursements. Even when you do get paid, it is often taking far too long. The solution: use a provider that has an independent clearinghouse connected to all insurance companies and that gets your claims paid the first time. That’s why our doctors get paid in days, not months.
3) Clunky, user-unfriendly, slow, overpriced EMR/EHR systems. It is the shame of our industry. Talk to any doctor pretty much anywhere in the United States and they will tell you the same story: I HATE MY EMR! There is even a popular parody account on Twitter dedicated entirely to how awful the leading EHR system in the US is perceived to be by the doctors and other healthcare professionals forced to use it. And to add insult to injury, these systems are incredibly expensive. And on top of all that, most are PC- or laptop-based, which interferes with the doctor-patient interaction. And many are so complicated that even a smaller practice often has to have a full-time IT headcount to maintain their systems. The solution: EMRx, a Cloud-based (read “zero maintenance and no IT staff needed”), software-as-a-service EMR designed by doctors, for doctors, and currently used by thousands of doctors nationwide. EMRx is tablet-optimized, meaning you can maintain eye contact with the patient. It is so user-friendly that our average documentation time per patient encounter is just two minutes for general practitioners, somewhat greater for certain specialists. (And yes, everyone always thinks that’s a lie….right until they see the demo.) And because it is software-as-a-service, the start-up costs are far more reasonable, there is zero maintenance for you, you have access to award-winning support, and the ongoing costs are reasonable. Also, you aren’t stuck in multi-year contracts.
Tune in next week for challenges 4 to 7!