Keep these considerations in mind when deciding to outsource your ASC's billing.
Outsourcing your ambulatory surgery center's billing can be highly advantageous. A professional surgery center revenue cycle team, like the one that delivers SIS ASC Revenue Cycle Services, will provide you with ASC billing expertise, dependable coverage, customized reporting, growth support, target benchmarks, and the human touch required when tackling all aspects of the revenue cycle.
The right ASC billing company will also provide you with consistent updates and essential information that will put your mind at ease so you can focus on what really matters: delivering the best surgical care to your patients and the best surgical experience for your physicians.
Thinking about outsourcing your ASC's revenue cycle management? Here are 10 tips that can help you make an educated decision and one that provides your surgery center with an ASC billing partner with the capabilities to meet your short- and long-term needs.
1. Understand your ASC revenue cycle outsourcing need and opportunity
Take a step back and examine how your ASC's billing department is operating. Is it performing to the best of its ability, or is there room for improvement? Are you struggling with adequately staffing the office? Falling behind on claims submission? Encountering numerous denials? Could patient collections increase with the right expertise? Are you worried that you're missing billing opportunities?
If you're building a new ASC, how would putting your revenue cycle services into the hands of professionals and experts from the start help reduce costs and allow you to better optimize the physical space?
These are just a few of the key questions you should ask when evaluating your revenue cycle needs and opportunities that can help you determine if outsourcing your ASC billing would be beneficial.
2. Do your due diligence
If you decide to outsource your revenue cycle management, take the time to research your ASC billing company options so you can identify the service provider that will best meet your center's requirements. It is important to remember that whoever you choose will ultimately become a partner to your ASC. You want to find and select a team you will feel comfortable working with for a long time.
It's important to find an ASC billing partner that has current and extensive ASC industry knowledge and experience. This includes understanding of ASC revenue cycle processes, the software your ASC is using, coding rules and compliance, and more. Make sure the ASC billing company you select has a track record of providing results that enhance business operations and performance, and that they offer service-level agreements focusing on key performance indicators (KPIs).
3. Don't hesitate to ask questions of the ASC billing companies
As you're researching your options for an ASC billing company partner, never be afraid to ask questions. There is no such thing as a thoughtless or stupid question, especially when it comes to choosing the right ASC billing service provider. Use the due diligence phase to determine how a billing company will interact with your ASC and what it will be like to partner with them.
4. Determine, divide, and conquer
There are many tasks you will need to complete if you decide to transition your ASC to outsourced revenue cycle management. Working with your new ASC billing partner, determine those tasks, divide them up and assign them to key staff members at your ASC, and then conquer them all with teamwork.
5. Ensure frequent communication with your ASC billing partner
Once you have made the decision to outsource your ASC billing, selected a partner, and begun the outsourcing transition, it is vital to the success of both teams to establish a frequent communication cadence during the onboarding process. A cadence of at least weekly calls for status updates, with daily email check-ins as necessary, should serve you well.
Use the communication medium(s) you find most convenient and effective, and remember that those communications should flow both ways between your ASC and its new billing partner.
6. Set goals, and monitor and measure success
Once the transition is complete and you are working with your chosen ASC billing partner, now comes the time for your center to determine how best to monitor and measure the success of the billing service provider. Establish goals from the beginning of the engagement. Decide on your KPIs and target benchmarks for these metrics. While some may be more universal to all ASCs (e.g., days to bill, denial rate, clean claim percentage), others will be specific to your facility. The important question to answer here: What makes the most sense right now for your ASC?
7. Establish routine meetings with your ASC billing company
Even after the outsourcing transition is complete and your center and its ASC billing partner are well underway and hopefully finding success, you should continue to hold routine meetings and ensure both parties remain actively involved in the partnership. This will allow you to maintain a close working relationship and benefit from your billing partner walking your team through monthly numbers, checking in on your KPIs and benchmarks, and evaluating and updating financial goals.
8. Leverage supporting technologies
Take advantage of the technologies offered and provided by your ASC billing partner to help you make the most of outsourcing. For example, SIS offers a real-time web application that allows the SIS team to communicate with clients easily throughout any point during the day. This communication tool helps the SIS RCS team to stay on track with completing and submitting claims in a timely manner by enabling the team to request missing items needed to complete coding and billing.
When evaluating potential ASC billing partners, ask about the tools and solutions they use to streamline communications and thus increase productivity and performance.
9. Benchmark performance routinely
Make a habit of routinely benchmarking your performance against others in the industry. Your ASC billing service provider should be able to help with internal and external benchmarking. The billing team should provide knowledge and insight to bring about improvements in those areas where benchmarking data indicates opportunities exist. You can also use external tools such as those provided by the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association to track and assess your success.
10. Celebrate Success
Often forgotten, this is one of the most important steps in outsourcing your ASC's revenue cycle management. You put in the hard work, met revenue cycle performance goals, and are experiencing improvement in the financial health of your ASC. That's worthy of a celebration!