Six Practical Steps That May Improve Billing Efficiency

By August 31, 2018Posts


Setting up efficient software and consistent billing practices are key steps to help establish a smooth process for provider reimbursements. However, billing isn’t only about getting the data right; there are other, practical considerations a practice should look into when trying to improve claims denials or cash flow, from how staff inputs charges, to whether you’re running key reports to track denials:

  1. Keep the age of claims under 90 days. Practices should be running regular reports to assess the “age” of accounts receivable. According to SKR + Co, a CPA firm that serves healthcare providers, an “acceptable performance indicator” for outstanding medical claims is to make sure there are “no more than 15 to 20 percent total accounts receivable” that are over 90 days due. However, they suggest that to really improve the bottom line, that figure should stay much lower, between 5 percent to 8 percent. (1)
  2. The front desk is the first stop in billing. “Getting a claim paid really starts at the front desk,” writes Manny Oliverez for the medical billing magazine Capture Billing. (2) It’s important to make sure that front desk staff have whatever software and guidelines they need to take down thorough information when patients come in. This means getting copies of insurance cards or policies, IDs, and a practice’s own patient registration forms. It’s also crucial to verify insurance coverage and eligibility. (2)  Another equally important task for front desk staff, according to Oliverez, is to collect copayments at point of service as well as any balances due. He recommends a physician or practice manager “[h]old your staff accountable by requiring them to note why a balance was not collected when the patient was in your office.” (2)
  3. Hire a billing manager. Administrative staff often have multiple duties. If they are expected to do billing thoroughly without error, it may make more sense to dedicate one well-trained person to the task of billing in-house rather than spreading that work out across other admin staff, according to a 2005 article in Clinical Colorectal Surgery.(3) As the article notes, “This position requires a greater level of training with preferably a college degree with some medical knowledge and good communication skills. Also, a certification in coding skills is strongly encouraged (but not required) and certification classes are widely available.”
  4. Follow up on outstanding claims. Follow-up may seem tedious and not as pressing as other billing issues, but Oliverez writes for Capture Billing, “The number one thing you must do is have your staff follow-up.” (2) Billing or front desk staff can begin by running reports on outstanding claims over 120 days. It’s helpful if your practice is signed up with each insurance company’s website so that claim status can be checked online and appeals filed quickly. (2)
  5. Scan in explanations of benefits (EOB): Explanation of Benefits (EOB) sheets are important to keep on hand even if you don’t have to access them very often. Scanning them allows a provider to have them on hand when needed without having to store them in paper format. “If those same EOBs are scanned, a biller can call the document up on their monitor in a few seconds. Thus they are being more productive–spending time getting you money instead of time wasted sorting through papers, moving boxes and getting a backache,” Oliverez writes. (2)
  6. Automate as much as possible: Physicians no longer send paper claims and statements. Billing has become an incredibly automated process, which is to a provider’s advantage. Physicians that adapt and implement medical billing technological advances may be able to increase billing efficiency and substantially reduce their overhead expenses.(4)

The above information is provided as guidance only and does not constitute reimbursement or legal advice and it is not intended to increase or maximize reimbursement by payer.


  1. Sayre, Penny, CPA. SKR + Co blog. Collections Performance: 3 Indicators You Should Be Watching.
  2. Oliverez, Manny. Capture Billing blog. Practical Ways to Get Your Insurance Payments Faster.
  3. Beck, David E. MD, & Choat, Dennis E. MD. Clin Colon Rectal Surg. 2005 Nov; 18(4): 267–270.doi: 10.1055/s-2005-922850
  4. Covington Shari. Physicians Practice. Sept. 30, 2016. The Evolution of the Medical Biller.