By Bill Bunker, Executive Vice President, SCI Solutions
The wait is over. CMS released the updated fee schedule for 2015 and the Radiology Business Management Association (RBMA) issued an official statement this week to voice their concern. Overall, radiology will see a combined average one percent reduction on total Medicare allowed charges for services. This is significant as radiology, along with other medical specialties, have experienced numerous reimbursement cuts in recent years. Instead of waiting for change that may not come, many radiology practices are taking proactive steps to keep their businesses ahead.
Radiologists Can No Longer Wait on the Sidelines
Increasing patient volumes is one of the most effective ways to increase revenue. According to the Journal of Internal General Medicine, 50 percent of referrals do not result in a patient visit. If practices can increase their referral success rates by even just one percentage point, the increased patient visits and revenue will counteract and likely exceed revenues lost due to reimbursement reductions. Most importantly, patients will receive the prompt care they need.
Change Starts before the Patient Walks in the Door
In order to increase patient visits, practices must reduce leakage and increase efficiency in handling referrals. The speed to schedule a referral is the most crucial factor in ensuring a patient visit occurs. Bottlenecks frequently transpire when staff attempt to obtain the insurance authorization for the referral, taking days or even weeks to complete. By utilizing an outside vendor to streamline the referral process and obtain insurance authorizations, practices can increase their referral success rate, reduce write-offs, and save administrative time. In an age where reimbursement rates are reducing, being proactive on factors you can control, like retaining and increasing patient volume, is vital for operating a successful business.