Ashdown & Associates, LLC - Transforming medical practices at the speed of light

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The Silver Bullet

Ever since we began in this business, nearly 15 years ago, there has been a common thread with nearly every provider we met: this relentless, endless search for the silver bullet that will fix all their financial problems. For 15 years our response is the same: there isn't one! Period.
Provider after provider has been investing hundred of thousands of dollars to find that one elusive billing/management software solution that will alleviate their financial woes. It's not out there. Trust me. We'll tell you what we've told every other provider: there are silver bullets (plural) that will resolve most, if not all, the financial problems that are commonplace to almost every medical practice, but stop investing your hard earned money for billing/management programs, EHR software, and the like, that do nothing more than store data.
Yes, I know. People will argue their heads off about how great their software program is and what it can do. Big deal. We've heard it all. There isn't a program out there that will call patients or collect patient information or ensure that each patient visit is accompanied by a billing slip or will call insurance companies or write appeal letters or send out bills or collect monies over the counter or the like. If you want to resolve the financial problems common to most medical practices out there then you need to do it the good old fashioned way. That's right.
We've been doing what we've been doing for a decade and a half, and the only thing that's really changed is ... well, just about nothing has changed. Providers are still looking for that elusive silver bullet and we're still telling them it's not out there.
All financial problems begin at the head. Every problem begins there, but let's stick with finances, for now. If you're a provider, take back the reins of your finances. Stop throwing the responsibility of whether or not your business survives on the shoulders of those you are probably paying $10/hour. How absurd is that, yet, it's commonplace. Get your head out of the sand and listen up. Your livelihood is at stake.
Look over the billing, the books, the finances, the insurance call log, the over the counter collections. What appeal letters do you use, and more? Stop reading the 1,000 pages of reports that billers throw at you that do nothing more than take up space on your desk -- it's a distraction. The one thing you should never take your eye off is the bottom line: your checkbook. Are you making more or less? Either way, find out why:
  • patient load more or less
  • are you taking more or less time off
  • are your services higher or lower (different from patient load)
  • over the counter collections up or down
  • carefully look at your EOB's
  • is someone stealing from you
Come on, man, woman -- buck up. Take charge. Finances are the heart of your business and billing is the heart of your finances. It's as simple as that.
We found there are 5 key areas that need to be addressed in order to succeed:
1) initial phone call with the patient and initial intake information
2) over the counter collections
3) patient/billing slip coordination
4) insurance denial follow up
5) security issues
I know. You're asking why I'm telling you all this. Simple. Most providers won't do it. They hire us because we do it for them. I know. Providers should take charge of their own destiny, but unfortunately, they don't.
Don't get me wrong. You still need great billers, and that's a big part of what we do. Why? Because Suzie the Worker Bee who makes $8 to $10 per hour could care less about your bottom line. For the most part, it's because he/she doesn't know better and/or because he/she doesn't have time.
Most providers have this crazy notion they can ask good ol' Suzie to do the billing, call the insurance companies, send out appeals, collect the money, do the monthly statements, keep a daysheet, post charges and payments, get checks ready for the bank, and more, all while answering phones, making appointments, collecting information, cleaning the back, setting up patients, and on and on. That's just plain ridiculous.
Seriously. What is it that most providers don't get about this? The solution is not more expensive billing/management software -- it's nothing more than smarter business practices.  
We, on the other hand, work like an agent: we make a percentage of everything we collect for our providers so it is in our best interest to do our best for you. But, you want to save a buck by having the heart of your business in house or having half of it outsourced or just plain not researching companies like ours that have improved our clients' bottom line by at least 20%. If you want to prosper, you're going to have to fight a little bit harder.
Life really doesn't have to be this hard. We exist to make our provider's life easier.
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