As reimbursements from third-party payers continue to decline, more and more rehabilitation therapists are opting to incorporate cash-based services—everything from aquatic therapy and golf fitness programs to gait analysis and deep tissue massage—into their practice offerings. As Brooke Andrus writes in this post, “…adding cash-pay options to your practice’s current menu of services isn’t only smart—it might just be necessary to secure your survival.”
While some PTs, OTs, and SLPs are satisfied offering a small number of cash-pay wellness services to generate extra revenue, some rehab therapists—like Ann Wendel and Jarod Carter—have decided to ditch third-party payer contracts altogether in favor of being cash-based all the way. As a result, Wendel and Carter don’t have to deal with the stress that comes with negotiating payer contracts or watching reimbursements dwindle. That being said, they still need to maximize their billing, operational, and documentation processes—not to mention their bottom lines—which is why even cash-based practice owners need excellent billing software. Here are just a few of the reasons cash-based practitioners should equip themselves and their clinics with the very best in billing:
Patients still need reimbursement from insurers, even if you don’t.
As a cash-based practitioner, you immediately receive payment for your services directly from your patients. On the other hand, your patients often are only able to pay out of pocket for therapy because they can later submit claims to their health insurance providers and get that money back. Thus, to ensure your patients continue to receive the incredible benefits of your services, you’ve gotta help them get reimbursed—otherwise, you risk losing them to an in-network provider.
As Wendel writes in this post, “I laugh every time a therapist comments, ‘You’re so lucky; you don’t have to worry about documentation or billing, because you get paid upfront!’” This “funny (and false) belief” leads Wendel to conclude that not everyone understands what’s required to run a cash-based practice: “my documentation and billing practices are not that different from [those of a PT in a traditional practice]. The end goal of billing is to get paid—it’s just that in my case, it’s the patient who is waiting for reimbursement.”
To be successful, cash-based practitioners must give their documentation and billing processes the same level of attention and care as providers who depend on reimbursements to keep their practices afloat. And you won’t be able to do that with pen and paper—or with a subpar billing software—because only the best rehab therapy-specific billing software provide alerts and safeguards that ensure you complete correct and thorough documentation that supports your invoices and gets your patients paid. The software also will help you generate those invoices and track patient payments, so you can be sure you’re collecting what you should be collecting—when you should be collecting it. Plus, when your billing software is integrated with the best electronic medical record (EMR) on the market, you only need to enter patient information once during documentation; then, everything will seamlessly transfer to your billing records. Say goodbye to double data-entry—and the mistakes that go along with it—and say hello to a solution that will securely store all of your patients’ financial and medical records in one place, so you can safely access your most important data anywhere, anytime.
Integrated billing software makes running your practice easier.
No matter how you collect payments (i.e., directly from patients or through third-party payers), you’re a business owner, which means you have a practice to run. Integrating your billing software with the right rehab therapy-specific EMR can provide all sorts of other benefits—one simple monthly invoice and a single point of contact, for starters—that make running your practice significantly easier. Here are several more:
1. Automatic Patient Reminders
Maximize your office hours and minimize no-shows by sending your patients automatic appointment reminders via phone, text, or email. Plus, you can track the results of these reminders directly within the application.
2. Information Sharing
Whether it’s within your own clinic or with other members of your patients’ healthcare teams, sharing information is necessary to provide excellent care. Good thing you can use your integrated software to easily communicate with staff via secure instant messaging—and with external providers via secure email and faxing.
With an integrated scheduling feature, you can view and edit schedules for patients, therapists, and treatment rooms. And, because your calendar is connected to your documentation, your patient records and patient appointments are linked—which means you can glean valuable insight about your clinic operations by tracking no-shows, cancellations, and lost patients.
4. Referral Reports
Wouldn’t it be nice to know which referral sources are generating new business—and which ones aren’t? With built-in referral reporting, you’ll know who deserves a “thank you” and who could use a bit more attention.
You don’t ever want to find yourself on the wrong side of a HIPAA violation, not only because breaches are incredibly costly, but also because even a suspected one can severely damage or destroy patient trust. With the right integrated software (one that’s fully HIPAA compliant), you can rest easy knowing that your patients’ protected health information is safely stored in a world-class, heavily guarded data center.
6. Outcomes Tracking
If your software has an integrated outcomes tracking solution, you can collect objective data that enables you to prove your value and improve patient care. Use the full library of standardized, industry-accepted tests to set data-driven goals and track your staff’s progress toward them. That’s great for your patients—and your practice’s bottom line.
Want to learn more about the best integrated billing software for cash-based practices? Schedule your complimentary demo of WebPT’s billing software today.