Physical Therapy Billing: How Real Time, Automatic Claim Submission Can Boost Cash Flow in Your Practice

By Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT on January 12, 2013

There was a time when claim submission was an ardous, manual process. With the emergence of electronic claim submission, a claim can be submitted in seconds.

Nitin Chhoda describes the technology of real-time, automatic claim submissions and why it’s here to stay. More importantly, Nitin advises you how to find an EMR that integrates this critical feature to help you streamline and automate your practice.

physical therapy billingIdeally, every claim sent to an insurance company would be submitted as soon as the practice knew it was time to send a claim.

In reality, claims are delayed by many factors, including problems with clinician notes or weighted procedures, insufficient patient information, and mediocre time management and physical therapy billing.

With a physical therapy EMR, claims for regular patients to consistent insurance companies can be generated in real time. They also take much less time to prepare and send, something that will help improve overall efficiency of physical therapy billing.

Cash Flow Stumbling Blocks

Insurance claims are one of the biggest stumbling blocks for generating consistent cash flow at a physical therapy practice. Health care providers are at the mercy of insurance companies when it comes to getting paid, and insurance companies certainly don’t try to make it easier.

But if you can identify where your problems with physical therapy billing cash flow are, you can start to work on solutions to solve those problems.

The goal of a physical therapy billing solution using an EMR is to make the majority of claims automatic and instantly submitted. The majority of visits from patients are recurring. The initial visit involves some extra steps for collection of patient history and insurance information.

However, after that first visit, the physical therapy billing plan should be somewhat predictable. And yet, without an EMR, each time a claim must be filed for each patient, the biller must fill out new paperwork and submit the claim as if it was the first time.

physical therapy billing cashflowReal Time Claim Submission

With an integrated EMR, the possibilities for efficiency improvement in physical therapy billing are quite stunning.

To even imagine that insurance claims could be submitted in real time seems like a bit of a fantasy. But for the majority of claims, this kind of streamlined process is quickly becoming a reality.

The trick to submitting claims automatically is preparation and planning. With a detailed treatment plan for each patient, it should be possible for physical therapy billing professionals to know what they will bill after each visit for each patient.

The clinician must follow the treatment plan closely and record each visit according to the agreed-upon plan. The biller can then review an automatically generated claim based on the treatment plan and submit claims in real time.

Big Changes Take Big Work

The hardest part of implementing a physical therapy billing change to workflow like the one described above is getting everyone to do things differently.

We get into routines and then we stay in them – humans are very good at that. But we are also very good at adjusting when something outside of our control changes.

To bring about serious cash flow improvements will take some serious changes. Implementation of an EMR will help to shift the thinking of all staff so they can work from a new perspective. Physical therapy billing staff can begin to benefit from these changes immediately, and the practice as a whole will see greater cash flow efficiency.

About Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT

Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT is the CEO of In Touch EMR and In Touch Biller Pro, an electronic medical records and medical billing software system built be leaders in the physical therapy software industry, with thousands of satisfied customers across the world. For more information, please visit www.InTouchEmr.com and www.InTouchBillerPro.com

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