In my last post I outlined why yields are important and how to calculate them. In this article I want to follow up with a few more tactical points concerning medical billing yields:
- Calculating yields requires accurate data about your procedure mix, payer mix and your allowables. If you do not have all of this data then you have bigger issues than just no knowing your yield - you need a new billing system.
- Calculating yields is more complicated for specialties that have issues such as multiple procedure discounts. In situations like this you must understand what percentage of each CPT's occurrence will be subject to these discounts to gain an accurate yield. This is also true if you have other discounts that frequently apply such as assistant surgeon discounts. A fast way to understand the impact that these issues have on your yield is to calculate the yield on fully resolved claims from your billing system and see how much your yield is lowered by the effect of these various discounts.
- The yield you are calculating is your theoretical medical billing yield. Your actual yield will be lower because of procedures that do not pay (e.g., preauthorization issues), patients that do not pay, bundling, duplicate claims, etc.
- You need to recalculate your yield at least annually when Medicare and other payers change their contracts. You also need to recalculate your yield if there is a large shift in payer mix or procedure mix.
- Looking at your yields between payers is a great way to compare the attractiveness of your various payer contracts. The payer yields moves away from looking at the multiple of Medicare that a payer says their contract pays and focuses instead on how the contract works for you and your procedure mix.
- Along a similar line of thought to the point above, you can calculate the yield of a proposed contract to understand it true value to your practice and use this knowledge to better negotiate with a payer. For instance, if your fee schedule is set at 200% of Medicare and a payer contract has a yield of 48%, then you know that for your procedure mix the contract is actually paying less than Medicare (if it was paying at Medicare then the yield would be 50%).
- Finally, ask you medical billing manager or medical billing company their thoughts on yields. If they do not completely understand yields and have thoughts on how you can use your yield to understand your practice, predict cashflow, compare contracts and negotiate contracts, then this is a major red flag in terms of their true understanding of medical billing.
Yields are a critical component of medical billing and practice management. The points above should help you become a "power user" when it comes to medical billing yields.
Copyright 2009, Carl Mays II and the ClaimCare Medical Billing Company