Billing practices affect more than just your medical practice’s revenue cycles. As a rural doctor, you no doubt enjoy a close relationship with the community you serve, especially if it’s a small, close-knit community. Poor medical billing practices can lead to poor patient experience, the effects of which may spill over to your interactions with your patients outside the practice.

The following billing tips will help you to increase your revenue and boost your practice’s office efficiency.

1. Clearly Communicate Your Billing Terms and Practices

Keep your patients well informed about what is expected of them in terms of payment terms and your office’s billing practices will make the process more efficient and faster. If your patients know about your billing procedures, upfront payments that they will need to make out-of-pocket, co-pays and other critical information beforehand, you can expect a smoother run. You can let them know by putting up signs around your practice.

2. Perform Insurance Verification Before Rendering Service

This will work quite well for patients who have booked appointments with your office. You can check each patient’s insurance information by calling the insurance company or using online payer resources. You can always move a patient’s appointment if you cannot verify their insurance.

3. Stay Informed and Up-to-Date

Ensure that your billing staff is familiar with the different insurance companies and their range of coverage policies, coding edits and filing limits. Each team member should have ready access to a manual of your policies and protocols for reference.

In a rural setting, it’s easy to get left behind on what’s new, but always bear in mind that ignorance is not a defense. Invest in staff training and ensure that you stay on top of what is current in terms of legislation, changes to billing protocols as well as changes and updates in insurance policies. You can also sign up to receive updates as they are released.

4. As much as is Possible, Collect Up Front

Collecting at the time of service can help improve your collections. Collect co-pays, due balances and projected deductibles while your patients are still in your office, instead of leaving it for a chase down later on. You can make this time-of-service collection a part of your practice’s formal check-out process.

5. Outsource to a Professional

Dealing with billing can be time-consuming and very overwhelming. You need experts working on this crucial aspect of your practice’s management. Outsourcing to a qualified and experienced medical billing and coding company can turn around your billing practices, leaving you and your staff to focus on caring for your patients. You can look for a reliable company within your community or even beyond.

There is a lot more that you can do to boost your revenues and improve your reimbursements. The highlighted tips are however some of the easiest to implement and don’t require too heavy an investment of your practice’s resources.