Hospitals and physician practices will need to contend with more than the projected double-digit drop in productivity in the immediate aftermath of the October 1 transition to ICD-10. Moving to the complex code set will lead to a cash crunch for many providers, in particular those physician groups that don’t have the reserves to ride out the ICD-10-related payment delays.
The culprit isn’t the codes themselves; claims evaluations indicate ICD-10 codes produce the same revenue as their ICD-9 counterparts. Rather, cash flow will be disrupted as organizations across the board work out the kinks of coding and reimbursement under the voluminous code set. Surveys by MGMA, Texas Medical Association (TMA) and others also point to inadequate preparations and outdated technical capabilities as underlying causes.
of physicians surveyed by the TMA anticipate delayed or denied claims
anticipate cash flow disruptions severe enough to force them to tap into personal funds to keep practice doors open
indicate they may have to lay employees off or reduce work hours or benefits
There are ways to off-set revenue disruptions. One of the most effective is an innovative payment processing system that taps into the power and immediacy of text messaging to rapidly increase cash flow, speed collections and reduce/eliminate appointment no-shows—saving even small practices hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.
SwervePay Health offers cloud-based payment applications that leverage the security of the cloud and the ubiquity of text and email to immediately notify patients of outstanding balances and provide one-click access to an online payment portal. Applications also enable automated payment plans that improve practice profitability and reduce bad debt, as well as electronic statements which help eliminate the cost of collections.
By leveraging a tool like “prepaid appointments,” practices can collect co-payments even before a patient arrives at the office. It works by embedding SwervePay’s one-click payment processing into Relatient’s text-based appointment reminders. The patient receives a text message that includes a direct link to an online payment platform, enabling fast and easy submission of co-pays and pay account balances.
There is no way to avoid taking a revenue hit in the immediate wake of ICD-10. But innovative physician groups and hospitals can lessen the blow by speeding collection of patient payments, reducing bad debts and eliminating no-shows.