Revenue may be up at your Ambulatory Surgery Center, but cash flow may still be tight. Revenue is a long-term measure, while cash flow has a daily impact on your facility. To improve cash flow, focus on day-to-day operational costs. Part of the solution is found in how you handle patient payments; if patients drag their feet before getting around to paying for procedures, cash flow can get tight quickly. Here are some tips to increase cash flow at your ASC in 2021.
Offer Pre-Surgery Payment Options
Transparent pricing models are one way to improve the chances of timely payment from patients. Pre-surgery payment options can be part of the payment options offered by your ASC. Explain to your patients the advantages of pre-payment, including not having to worry about bills while recovering from a surgical procedure. Incentives such as a 10% discount for pre-payment can also encourage patients to pay now rather than later.
Send Patient Reminders
Bills get misplaced, payments are prioritized by patients, and sometimes things fall through the cracks. Patients sometimes forget to make a payment or aren't aware they still owe money to the ASC. Sending out patient reminders can encourage timely payments. One Medical Passport's patient engagement software lets you send out follow-up messages that are easily customizable by procedure, patient, surgeon, and other parameters. Personalized reminders are a low-key, compassionate way to keep patients in the loop. Offering payment plans can also improve cash flow because patients have more manageable amounts to work with each month and are less likely to delay paying.
Improve Accounts Receivables
Have policies in place for ensuring accounts receivable operates effectively. Rather than trying to chase down payments months after they should have been paid, make sure it doesn’t get to that point. As part of price transparency, inform all patients about your ASC's acceptable payment schedule. When your pricing is fair and transparent, patients can plan for elective surgical procedures, ensuring they have the funds in place to cover their costs.
Let patients know how many invoices and notices they will receive before being turned over to collections or incurring additional fees. Have a clearly defined due date on every invoice and statement. Offering online payments is another way to improve cash flow. It makes it simple for patients, who will be less likely to forget a payment if they can click on a link and immediately go to a payment website.
Take the time to audit your supplies each month. If you consistently have more than one month’s worth of certain items, cut back on the amount ordered or push back the reorder date. With quick deliveries and reliable vendors in place, there is no need to reduce cash flow and storage space by overstocking your shelves. The money is better used elsewhere. If you have automatic refills in place for specific vendors, evaluate the accuracy of the orders several times a year and adjust accordingly. Our vendor management software makes it easy to track and amend orders in real-time.
Renegotiate Vendor Contracts
Have your orders from a trusted vendor increased over the years? Do you have contracts in place with favored vendors who supply multiple products? In either of these scenarios, it may be time to renegotiate your agreement with these vendors. Research pricing with other vendors, ask for their best contract offers, then approach your current vendors to see how they can reduce your costs with a new contract.
Evaluate Your Managed Health Care Reimbursement Contracts
This is an area that ASCs often neglect. Once a managed care reimbursement contract is in place, many feel it is etched in stone. However, your costs are continually increasing. If you haven't looked at the reimbursement details in your contracts, review them and compare them to what you are paying for everything from staff support to surgical supplies. Prepare a presentation to the managed health care provider demonstrating why they need to increase reimbursements for particular procedures based on real-time and actual invoices for supplies. Implant fees are often the highest expense for ASCs, so be sure to evaluate your reimbursement fees for these any time there is a cost increase for implants you frequently utilize.
Careful management of expenses, improving patient payment turn-around, and reducing supply waste and overstock are all elements that contribute to enhanced monthly cash flow for your ASC for the immediate future. Renegotiating contracts with vendors and managed care providers are essential for long-term cash flow improvement. Combining the two approaches can dramatically improve your ASC’s bottom line and daily operating costs.
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