However, medical laboratory billing/collections is often weak, even at top-performing outreach programs

If there is one bright spot in the revenue picture for many hospitals and health systems, it is how well-run hospital laboratory outreach programs produce strong growth in net revenue and contribution margin. Because of double-digit growth rates for outreach and outpatient procedures, clinical laboratory programs that target office-based physicians can produce impressive results.

“In our annual survey of hospital and health system laboratory outreach programs,” a significant number of participating hospitals report very strong rates of growth in specimen volume and net collected revenue,” stated Kathleen Murphy, Ph.D., who is CEO of Chi Solutions, Inc., based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “We are regularly surprised at how many of these better-performing hospital lab outreach programs are growing at rates of 12% to 25% per year, sustained over three to more consecutive years.

Annual Survey of Hospital Clinical Laboratory Outreach Programs

Chi Solutions typically gets survey responses from more than 100 hospital laboratories. That is why these survey findings represent strong anecdotal evidence of a flourishing market for hospital laboratory outreach programs.

Yet, even the impressive financial and growth performance of so many hospital laboratory outreach programs across the nation has a less impressive dimension. As good as most medical laboratory outreach programs are at bringing in specimens, they are often seriously deficient in their ability to successfully bill for lab testing services and get paid accurately and quickly by private and government payers. 

This poor performance in laboratory outreach billing and collections was confirmed by the results from a recent national survey of hospital/health system laboratory outreach programs. A full 72% of hospital laboratory outreach programs admitted to having serious collection problems that result in low net revenue, high bad debt, and internal efficiencies!

Kathleen A. Murphy, PhD of Chi Solutions, Inc. and Larry Siedlick, CEO of The ARx Group

Kathleen A. Murphy, PhD of Chi Solutions, Inc. and Larry Siedlick, CEO of The ARx Group

“This is a most unexpected finding,” stated Larry Siedlick, CEO of ARx Group, Inc., of Hauppauge, New York. “It means that, even as dynamic and fast-growing hospital laboratory outreach programs generate ever-greater number of specimens and expand their market share, the back-office performance in billing and collections can depress their net revenue while increasing bad debt to needlessly high levels.

“The good news is that it is relatively simple for laboratory outreach managers to fix this problem,” added Siedlick. “When they do, this can substantially increase the dollars their laboratory outreach program collects from payers.”

Poor Performance in Billing/Collections for Hospital Laboratory Outreach

It is significant that more than seven of every 10 hospital laboratory outreach programs acknowledge serious deficiencies in their billing and collections performance. It represents a financial jackpot every time perceptive clinical laboratory managers and pathologists take action to fix this problem.

“At a time when hospitals and health systems continue to squeeze down the budgets of their clinical laboratories, it is essential for lab administrators to maximize the dollars they successfully collect from their laboratory outreach claims,” advised Murphy. “It is why lab managers should take action to improve the effectiveness of their lab’s billing and collections department to quickly generate increased revenue.

“If there is bad news, it is that too many hospital laboratory outreach programs are forced to use their parent hospital’s collection department to bill and collect lab outreach claims,” she said. “Staff that work in hospital billing departments mean well. But they are constantly handling claims for $5,000 and $20,000. Thus, the $3 and $20 lab test claims that are the bread and butter of the laboratory outreach program are not given the same attention.”

Laboratory administrators who are interested in boosting the effectiveness of their laboratory’s billing and collection department may be interested to learn that both Kathleen Murphy, Ph.D., and Larry Siedlick will be sharing their secrets and discussing the proven—and fast—approaches you can use to fix many of the problems that exist today in your lab’s billing and collections department.

The pay-off will be more clean claims that are paid at first submission, lower bad debt, and increased cash flow from the existing volume of claims your lab currently submits to payers. Murphy and Siedlick will be leading the special audio conference titled “Achieving Financial Success with Hospital Laboratory Outreach: Six Proven Ways to Boost Net Revenue” that takes place on Wednesday, August 24, 2011.

Kathleen Murphy, Ph.D., will show you how to assess the strengths and weakness of your lab’s existing billing and collections department. You’ll learn action steps you can take that quickly fix that and increase cash flow. You’ll learn how to identify and avoid the common pitfalls in your billing processes. Murphy will describe several different collection strategies and show you how to prioritize them so your lab gets the most “bang for its buck.”

Larry Siedlick has equally powerful information to share with you. He’ll provide techniques your lab can use to improve the financial success of its outreach programs. You will also learn how to use the lab’s information systems to provide real-time dashboards that help managers deliver more clean claims that result in faster payment by health insurers.

The cornerstone of every hospital laboratory outreach program is an effective billing and collections system. You have a unique opportunity to directly listen and learn from two nationally-recognized experts on excellence in laboratory billing and collections.

Register today and get the most up-to-date information on how to develop billing processes that will improve collections and generate increased revenue and profitability for your lab’s outreach program.

And don’t forget: You can have everyone on your lab team participate with you. For just one registration, you can all listen, learn, and get personalized answers to questions about your lab’s unique needs. Register now to guarantee your participation.

THE DARK REPORT AUDIO CONFERENCE AT A GLANCE

DATE: Wednesday, August 24, 2011
TIME: 1 p.m. EDT; 12 p.m. CDT; 11 a.m. MDT; 10 a.m. PD
PLACE: Your telephone or speakerphone
COST: $245 per dial-in site (unlimited attendance per site)
TO REGISTER NOW: Click here or call 1-800-560-6363 toll-free

 

Related Information:

Achieving Financial Success with Hospital Laboratory Outreach: Six Proven Ways to Boost Net Revenue

Laboratory Outreach Program Flourishes at Evanston Hospital

Boston’s Caritas Christi Health Sells its Lab Outreach Business, Forms Alliance with Quest Diagnostics

What is THE DARK REPORT laboratory intelligence service?