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Mid Manhattan Surgi-Center: Improving Patient Collections

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MaurcoCMauro Cecchetti, Administrator Director of Clinical Operations at Mid Manhattan Surgi-Center in New York, describes how his center has improved patient collections and offers tips for ASC leaders looking to do the same.

Mid Manhattan Surgi-Center is a single specialty ophthalmic surgery center that performs approximately 450 cases per month. Cases include cataract procedures, glaucoma procedures, corneal transplants and minor ocular plastics. The center is owned by four physicians and hosts procedures performed by 32 credentialed physicians.

As an ophthalmic surgery center, Mr. Cecchetti's center has a high volume of Primary Medicare and Medicaid insured patients. The center has created an approach to patient collections that takes into account its patients' budgetary concerns and the bottom line. "We are a service-driven business and co-pays play a large part in our reimbursement," he says.

Mid Manhattan Surgi-Center has an in-house billing department. The billing staff verifies patient insurance and determines patient co-pays. They then contact patients two days prior to their procedure and inform them of their financial responsibility. Patients are made aware that 100 percent of their co-pay is due the day of the procedure.
On a case-by-case basis, the center will work with patients that cannot pay the entire co-pay upfront. These patients pay 50 percent of the co-pay and the remainder is billed within 30 days. Mr. Cecchetti has found patients are grateful for the flexibility. "Not to say we don't have our share of outstanding A/R," he says. "However, because of these little efforts we have positive patient satisfaction results and those outstanding invoices are usually paid on time."

Every ASC experiences patients that do not understand personal financial responsibility and may even fight it. The billing department at Mid Manhattan Surgi-Center will explain to these patients how their insurance plan works and refer them to their carrier for more details.

Mr. Cecchetti is also a surveyor with the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. He has seen firsthand how other ASCs are working to improve patient collections. "Every ASC has its problems with billing; it all depends on the population and market," he says. "But it helps to ask each center what their challenges are and what they're doing. You can sometimes bring back a helpful tidbit." He has seen some centers bill and collect 50 percent of a procedure's charges upfront and then split the remainder up into two separate payments. Each ASC may approach the issue differently, but all leaders strive to slim down A/R days and provide excellent patient service.

More Articles on Patient Collections:
Overcome the 4 Most Common Pitfalls in ASC Revenue Cycle
4 Tips to Avoid Common Coding & Billing Errors
8 Best Practices for Improving Patient Collections

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