Boosting my cash flow
Consultant cardiologist Dr Dinos Missouris describes how outsourcing helped him to ensure that his growing practice was in good financial health
A lot of my time and energy since starting in private practice in 2001 has been focused on growing my private practice and developing my reputation.
As my practice grew, the increased workflow put more and more demands on me and required me to take on a medical secretary to help with practice administration.
More recently, I started to feel that, despite working hard with a busy practice, my cash flow was not mirroring the work I was doing.
When I started to review the finances of the practice, I found two main problems: I was not getting the visibility that I wanted on my aged debt and the information when provided was not always accurate or up to date.
I discussed this with my personal assistant (PA) and it became clear that one of the issues was the demands of the modern patient.
The need to respond in a timely fashion to patient emails and phone calls meant that the invoicing, reconciliation and chasing of outstanding debt for the practice was always being interrupted or delayed.
I had not appreciated the considerable amount of time that was being taken up by this task and the impact it was having on the rest of the practice. In fact, the growth of my practice had contributed to it becoming cumbersome to manage.
On top of this, the requirement for some of the insurance companies to only take invoices electronically, combined with the difficulty my PA was having in contacting some of the insurers to resolve issues, had added to the problem.
My age debt was running at 20% and so I knew I had to take some form of action.
Placed in ‘intensive care’
I had heard of Medical Billing and Collection (MBC) through some colleagues, so I contacted Simon Brignall, its director of business development. We had a detailed conversation about my practice and then a meeting with my PA to establish the issues.
My account was initially placed in an ‘intensive care’ process and a dedicated account manager was able to assist my PA with the transition process and to focus on the backlog of outstanding debt that had built up.
The result of having specialised staff focus on this area of my practice meant that after eight months they had collected over 90% of my outstanding backlog of debt.
This was great, because some of this debt went back to invoices raised in 2016, so it was over two years old. And, so far, I have only written off £250 from the backlog.
I also now get the visibility that I wanted, as I have access to up-todate financial data for the practice from an online system which is available 24/7. If required, I can also ask my account manager for a report.
This means I am now confident that the credit management side of my practice is being managed professionally. The fact that I have not yet written anything off since choosing to partner with MBC confirms this.
My PA is also much happier, as he no longer has to carry out the billing and reconciliation function.
This enables him to keep his relationship with the patient focused purely on the clinical side of the practice, having removed the need to chase for money.
The billing company has been able to advise me on all aspects of the financial side of my practice to ensure I am now billing efficiently.
It has also added a range of new capabilities such as being able to take payments by debit or credit card without maintaining my own system to achieve this.
What I would pass on to other consultants from my experience is to not to let your practice outgrow your current arrangements or a growing practice hide the fact that your practice is not as financially healthy as it could be.
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