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Doesn’t It Always Boil Down to Communication?

So as the owner of a private practice physical therapy office you are having difficulties getting the information you want from your income manager or your billing service. And your income manager or billing service is having difficulty getting information (or more importantly, money) from the insurance company or government. And sometimes the insurance company or government is having difficulty getting information from your office. For some reason, I am viewing this picture in my mind of a dog chasing its tail! There is a common thread here and it is communication. Certainly, we know how important communication is when we deal with the results of our marketing and PR area of the practice and with how we deal with each patient from intake through discharge. But how much emphasis do we place on the cycle of communication when dealing with the process of billing and collections and our ability to capture our fair share of the reimbursement? There are numerous modes of communication which we use every day. The obvious ones include verbal face-to-face communication, telephone, voicemail, email, text messaging, paper, and the list goes on. This is true internally in our organization, as well as externally – with patients, insurance companies, Medicare, Work Comp, attorneys, etc. No matter which mode of communication is being employed there are multiple ways in which that communication can and often does fail. The most common method of communication failure is trying to make sense out of something which doesn’t seem to make sense. Essentially, I mean that there is something in that communication that has just been received that was not fully understood. If something in that communication was not fully understood then one cannot fully duplicate the exact thought which was intended to be received when the sender originated that communication. That means that the communication did not communicate as intended. And this is how resources become wasted and upsets occur. In the billing and collections area of a practice there are large amounts of data being communicated regularly and often times the people passing along the data are merely passing along the data and really have little useful knowledge as to what it all really means. We may know what the process is supposed to be but probably don’t understand why the process is the way it is. Communication is less than ideal. What’s the message here you wonder? Well, the message is that to ensure that you are really capitalizing your reimbursement you must ensure that you, your income management department and/or your bill/collecting service really understand the process as well as the information attempting to be communicated. Otherwise the communication will be less than ideal, and that will be reflected in your ability to collect all that is owed. I hope this message communicated to you.

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