Did you know your write-offs will provide clues of how successful your accounts receivable program is?
If not, let’s start with the definition and types of write-offs:
Write-Off: The difference between the actual charge and the allowable charge that the insurance company is willing to pay for services (or non-covered amounts).
As you can see, understanding write-offs are easy to grasp. However, we still see practices get tripped up on how to apply the process to their specialty.
Therefore, here is what you can do immediately to improve the financial health of your practice, such as:
Always make sure your staff understands what a write-off is, why it’s necessary, when approval is required, and where to find a copy of the policy.
Examples of educational topics could include: how to handle small balances, timely filing, collections/bad debt rules, uncredentialed provider, and much more.
Your goal is to ensure your staff understands the policy, so money continues to flow in and not out your practice.
Every write-off is not legit. There are times staff may be writing services off because they are not aware that a payment from the insurance company should be made or that the patient is responsible (i,e., noncovered services – ABN, copays/deductibles).
The best way to handle this is to review weekly reports to catch these errors, schedule a meeting, and train employees on your policies. After the audit, use your write-off errors as an educational component within your practice.
Remember, even if your staff has been employed in the field for a while, there is nothing wrong with a refresher training since healthcare is always changing.
If you are continuously writing a charge off, pay attention to the trends and evaluate whether this is something you can discuss at the negotiation table to add to your contract. Especially if the service is non-covered and you feel it is a medical necessity for your practice to run efficiently.
Last, if you contract with a third-party billing company, use the above information to build a connection with them and ask questions about why they chose to write-off certain items.
The feedback from these sessions will help you create better documentation processes within your practice.
**The opinions and observations from the group/author are not a promise to exempt your practice from fines and penalties. Research, modify, and tailor the advice to fit your specialty.