Using the Internet cuts costs, boosts cash flow

Claims services can streamline

Using the Internet to outsource some financial functions has allowed a Portland, OR, pediatrics practice to eliminate one full-time staff position while slashing the time it takes to collect its accounts receivable by one-third.

A little more than a year ago, accounts receivable were averaging 60 to 90 days at Portland’s Children’s Clinic, says Katherine Whitaker, who supervises bookkeeping at the 20-physician practice.

Looking for ways to increase its cash flow, the clinic decided to experiment with an Internet claims service. After talking with a variety of services, it settled on the Dallas-based Claimsnet (www.claimsnet.com). The main attraction was that it offered a flat-rate service.

Since signing on, accounts receivable outstanding have dropped from nearly 90 days to nearly 30 days. One direct advantage of this speedier processing and cash flow is that even though the practice added four physicians during the same period, it only needed to hire one a part-time staffer to deal with the increased administrative workload.

"Without the Internet system, I would have had to hire at least a full-time person, and maybe one and a half people," estimates Whitaker.

For a flat fee of $25 a month, the clinic can process an unlimited number of commercial claims. Another selling point was that no new equipment was required because the system worked off the practice’s Internet browser.

Reports available

Like many other Internet sites, Claimsnet, for an additional fee, also will produce a set of monthly reports that include diagnosis and procedure code by gender, all patients by procedure code and geography, all patients by diagnosis code and geography, all patients by payer and diagnosis code, all patients by payer and procedure code, and all patients by payer.

Claimsnet also is capable of producing individual patient billing statements and performing eligibility checks and referrals.