Healthcare Technology Featured Article

April 03, 2013

ZirMed Helps Medical Providers Improve Their Cash Flow

Many medical providers have started to ask for more than the co-pay when a patient receives care at one of their offices.

According to McKinsey & Co., practices only collect 50 percent of the medical bills they send out after a patient has left the office. With uninsured patients, the total drops to between 10 and 20 percent recovered.

As a result, medical practices have started to collect not only co-pays, but also what a patient owes toward a deductible, a percentage of the cost-of-care for co-insurance or advance payments for imaging studies and outpatient surgeries. Some doctors collect money from uninsured patients immediately, or at least sign them up for payment plans before delivering care.

Some insurance companies like Humana and UnitedHealth Group allow medical practices to compute instant bills as soon as care is delivered. For example, medical office staff can input billing codes and receive an instant bill from the insurance company for what the insurer will not cover.

ZirMed is a company providing SaaS revenue cycle management solutions. Its new tool, the ZirMed Patient Estimator, helps medical practices to determine a patient's financial obligation before the patient receives service or care.

ZirMed's solution leverages a large database of healthcare payment information. Instead of working with multiple payer organizations, medical providers can assess patient bills from a single database.

They also eliminate the hassle of dealing with multiple contracts.

The company boasts that its Patient Estimator cuts average collection time for medical practices from 120 days to 30 days. 

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, accounting developed from instant billing from insurance companies is 98 percent accurate. Accuracy drops, however, as practices use estimation or projection to compute patient obligation at the time of service.

Kathleen Stoll of Families USA recommends keeping a receipt for the amount that you pay at the doctor's office, and then comparing it with your insurer's statement of benefits. If you overpay, you’ll need to contact your doctor's office to ask for a refund. In some cases, practices keep the money as a credit toward future visits, instead of issuing a refund immediately.

Programs like ZirMed can help medical providers to collect and book revenue more quickly instead of risking the write-off of bad debts. Doctors' offices just need to make sure they don't cheat their reliable patients in the process.

Edited by Braden Becker

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