Physical Therapy Billing | How to be profitable and compliant

physical therapy billing cycleExcerpt from Medical Billing Networks and Processes – Profitable and Compliant Revenue Cycle Management in the Internet Age By Yuval Lirov 

“Patient loyalty is the key to continued physical therapy billing success in terms of both recurring and new revenue. As long as patients keep returning to your physical therapy practice, you maintain revenue stability – and as patients refer their friends and family, your physical therapy practice billing collections grow. In terms of physical therapy practice profitability, new patient acquisition is, by an order of magnitude, more expensive than loyalty management for existing patients.Time delay is a major problem of eroding patient loyalty. By the time you discover that you have a patient loyalty problem, it’s typically too late to do anything about the patients that have left. Patients typically desert you without ever saying good-bye, and your only way to discover patient attrition is by observing lower collections and more free time on your appointment schedule.Frequent patient communication is the only effective way to reduce such a time delay and increase the likelihood of timely loyalty problem identification and resolution. Such patient communications can resolve around any of the practice management components – from patient scheduling to SOAP notes to special healthcare literature to medical billing, insurance payments, co-pays and deductibles.

Patient Identification and Targeted Communications

It’s convenient to view targeted communications from the patient visit perspective:

  • Patients due for scheduled appointments or who owe you payments need a reminder.
  • Patients who recently had an appointment need results, interpretation, prescriptions and follow-up.
  • Patients with prescriptions that are about to expire may need to schedule a visit.
  • Patients who have not had an appointment for a long time need a reminder to schedule a checkup. A screening process schedule should be generated using procedure (CPT) and diagnosis (ICD) codes.
  • Patients with chronic conditions or permanent injuries need literature about recent progress in treating their conditions.
  • Patients who have had a long series of appointments need progress reports.
  • Patients who receive good progress reports need to be solicited for referrals.
  • Patients with bad progress reports need special literature and special appointments.
  • Patients waiting in the reception area need access to customized information about their specific conditions.

To generate such unique lists of patients, you system must combine scheduling, medical notes and billing data in a single to access and report from database.

Patient Communications Venue

While traditional phone and conventional mail systems are still in use, the Internet is the most effective Meaningful Use-compliant patient portal is the best and least expensive way to allow your patients to interact with you outside your office at their convenience and privacy. With this type of system your patients can do the following:

  • Review reminders and schedule appointments
  • Review test results
  • Ask you clarifying questions
  • Request prescriptions
  • Read special literature and progress reports that you send them
  • Send you referrals
  • Review medical billing history and pay invoices
  • Track their medical costs

Active patient loyalty management, based on selective patient identification for targeted communications at the patient’s convenience, is one of the most effective ways to improve practice profitability.”