Definition of Medical Billing Audit
A Healthcare Medical Billing Audit is fundamentally a quality assurance check where some professional medical billing auditors are tasked to check the overall workflow and revenue cycle management of medical billing in order to find any potential revenue leakages. In addition to this, any compliance issues or regulatory problems are also identified in order to save a medical practice from any type of litigation.
Importance of Medical Billing Audit in the Healthcare Industry
As we all know that the healthcare sector in the United States is based on an insurance-backed mechanism that requires medical providers to file for claim reimbursements using the latest medical billing codes. Although the system is working adequately, medical practices in the United States have to invest a lot of time and money into their medical billing and still see claim denials and medical billing errors hurting their practice.
This is where a medical billing audit becomes highly important for medical practices in the healthcare sector. It provides such practices with a clearer picture of where their medical practice stands and allows them to focus on their bottom line. In other words, a medical billing audit is important because it provides an eagle-eyed view of the entire revenue cycle to practices, whereby they can easily focus on patient care rather than being worried about litigation issues, compliance problems, and medical billing errors.
What is a Medical Billing Audit?
Overview of the Process
The medical billing audit process is such that it checks all documentation for compliance issues or any other operational and legal risks involved. The goal is to ensure the accuracy of the revenue cycle process and check all documents in detail to see if there are any revenue leakages affecting a medical practice’s financial performance.
This process is such that it is used to identify, monitor, and correct any mistakes in the revenue cycle process in order to ensure efficacy in revenue collections and reimbursements. As a result, a medical billing practice can feel reassured that its revenue cycle is in good hands, and it can focus better on patient care.
Components of a Medical Billing Audit
A medical billing audit is based on various components, out of which the most important one is thorough research and document filtering. The extent to which you want to assess everything in detail depends upon your own personal preference, but generally, a detailed and eagle-eyed medical billing audit is expected to produce better results. Therefore, all components are to be executed in order for an audit to bear fruit. For this purpose, you can follow some simple steps:
Determine the Scope of Your Audit
The first part of the medical billing audit is to determine the scope at which the medical billing audit is to be carried out. Once that is done, the process can then be initiated according to a focused and determined plan where all major domains of the revenue cycle are to be analyzed and checked in detail. This is important because it provides the auditor with a map to easily navigate the audit and achieve the desired objectives.
For instance, if a medical practice is continuously facing claim denials due to eligibility verification, a good strategy here would be to conduct an audit analysis of the breakdown of benefits as well as the appointment scheduling process. After verifying all documentation, an auditor can continue to find and pinpoint the reason behind increasing claim denials due to eligibility verification.
In addition to this, medical billing audits can also be done even if the medical practice is working smoothly. This is primarily because there is always room for improvement and a detailed audit would certainly find any potential loopholes that are likely to manifest later on, and a preemptive approach can easily handle that.
Purpose of a Medical Billing Audit
Let’s now talk about the actual purpose of a billing audit. Well, there are numerous medical practices in the United States that are trying their best to provide the best possible patient care to citizens in the country. However, the US insurance system requires medical practices to ensure their maximum relevancy with all legal, ethical, and professional objectives. In case any of these objectives aren’t met, a medical practice can end up facing stagnancy, financial distress, and even litigation issues as well.
Therefore, the major purpose of medical billing audits is to provide medical providers with a clearer perspective on their overall revenue cycle while showing them the way toward financial independence and sustainability.
Benefits of Medical Billing Audit
The first and foremost benefit of a medical billing audit is that it contributes significantly to your overall claim reimbursement rate. Effective coding along with all compliance issues are resolved in order to maintain a smooth workflow that results in high revenue collections for medical practices in the United States. Hence, it is always a good decision to carry out a billing audit at any time in your practice.
Improved Cash Flow
Medical practices in the United States try their very best to ensure a smooth and consistent cash flow that allows them to remain independent and financially stable. However, not many of them succeed at it and end up facing claim denials and a stringent revenue cycle. This is why a medical revenue cycle audit is carried out in order to provide such practices with a breakdown of their overall work to point out all lacking in the system and suggest ways to correct them. Once all audit-identified problems are resolved, the medical practice is expected to have a rise in revenue collection and an improved cash flow.
Enhanced Compliance with Regulations
We all know that medical practice in the United States is expected to be fully compliant with all rules and regulations. Whether it’s data protection or any credentialing regulations, a medical provider has to ensure transparency, and things can get ugly if these requirements are not met. Hence, a medical RCM audit is carried out in order to ensure enhanced compliance with all legal, ethical, or healthcare rules and regulations, saving the practice from any kind of litigation.
Detection and Correction of Billing Errors
With new and advanced coding introduced in the last few years, it has become common for medical billers and coders to make coding mistakes leading to denials. This is mainly because new codes become more and more intricate and detailed with time, and medical billers have to keep themselves updated on the changes. This is where a medical billing audit can improve the overall quality of medical billing in order to avoid the potential for billing errors, in turn leading to claim denials.
Improved Relationships with Insurance Companies
A medical billing audit is performed in order to make sure that the medical billing audit has an improved relationship with insurance companies. This way, the overall working of the medical providers is in line with all the rules and regulations followed by the insurance companies. As a result, the overall collaborative nature is enhanced and claim reimbursements are smoothly filed. This directly contributes to better revenue cycle management for medical providers.
How to Conduct a Medical Billing Audit
Preparation and Planning
The first step in a medical billing audit is to effectively prepare and plan for the revenue cycle audit. This step is in the process of a billing audit with the very first component of the revenue cycle management, which is to identify and define the scope of the overall medical billing audit. Therefore, it can be considered highly important for medical providers to be fully prepared with a proper plan to carry out their revenue cycle audit and to be able to achieve their desired objectives.
Data Collection and Analysis
The second step in the revenue cycle management audit is to gather all data either in the form of any physical documentation related to the medical practice or to analyze the overall workflow of the front desk and billing staff. With detailed data collection techniques as well as software, a medical auditor can easily pinpoint all revenue leakages in the medical billing system and reach a point where it can suggest a way out for medical practices to reach their desired revenue collection rate without making any coding and billing mistakes.
Identification of Issues and Recommendations for Correction
The third, and probably the most important aspect of conducting a medical billing audit is to identify all issues and recommend ways to correct them in both the short and long run. This means that a medical practice can often be found working in an effective manner, but there’s always a possibility of a lapse occurring in the revenue cycle. In other words, there is always a potential threat that has to be prevented by identifying any false practices that might manifest themselves in the future.
Once such issues are identified, recommendations are given to medical practices regarding their overall strategy to improve their revenue cycle management. For instance, if a medical billing audit finds lapses in the human resource available to a medical practice, the first and foremost recommendation is to either keep a better check on the front desk. Secondly, the audit can recommend outsourcing medical billing to a professional medical billing company that can provide optimum results in terms of high revenue collections and low account receivables.
Implementation of Recommendations
Lastly, it all comes to the implementation of all recommendations coming under the ambit of the audit. For this purpose, a medical billing audit can provide maximum value in terms of strategizing various ways to cope with any medical billing errors of improving the revenue cycle. This allows medical practices to easily navigate through the entire medical billing audit, and implement the recommendation for the betterment of the company. As a result, a successful audit takes place practices can easily invest their time and energy in patient care.
To conclude, one can claim that a medical billing audit is actually a lifeline for medical practices that are dealing with issues related to revenue cycle management. It provides them with a much-needed broader perspective on their practice and enables them to come up with innovative ideas to implement and contribute to a healthy revenue cycle. As a result, the entire claim reimbursement rate is rejuvenated, and revenue collections are improved with time. This shows that medical billing auditors in the United States are highly crucial for the smooth working of the entire healthcare system.
Summary of Key Points
Here are some of the key points summarizing the entire article for our readers:
- A medical billing revenue cycle audit is done primarily to focus on both long and short terms issues with a medical practice.
- Auditors are highly specialized individuals who either work on a contract basis or with a firm to audit the performance of medical practice’s revenue cycle.
- Problems with legal and ethical compliance might be the most important aspect of a medical billing RCM audit as it secures the practice from a bigger loss in terms of fines or litigation.
- An audit is carried out keeping in mind its overall scope which is to be determined early on.
- An audit has to give proper recommendations and then provide a general framework for the implementation of those as well.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Medical Billing Audit
To add some final thoughts, we’d say that the healthcare sector of the United States is in dire need of a smooth workflow that would allow providers to perform well. With numerous catastrophic diseases hitting the world population, it is crucial that medical providers get their revenue cycle established, and the government should play its role in maintaining a healthy insurance-provider relationship. For this purpose, medical billing audits should be normalized and made extra-efficient in order to improve the overall working of providers along with the revenue collections. In other words, providers should have a clear methodology to assess their work and improve their cash flow. So, in case of an emergency, the situation can be handled and a healthcare disaster can be averted.