On top of all of their other duties, the Nursing Home Administrator of a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) can do quite a bit to help ensure their Business Office’s billing and accounts receivable (A/R) success.  Of course they involve working with the Business Office Manager and the business office staff, as well as providing operational and emotional support, direction, training and other aids

The Administrator sets the tone in their facility.  That may sound corny or cliche to some, but it is as true in a SNF as in any organization or business.  One of the strongest things a good administrator can do for the entire facility is to create and foster a culture and attitude built on integrity, communication and mutual support.  By consistently sharing their vision for the facility, the administrator details how the staff members are expected to interact with each other and the public.  This is the perfect opportunity to reinforce the expectation and need for integrity and honesty in all dealings, both internal and external.

The most helpful thing the administrator can do for the business office manager is to provide overall support, oversight, assistance, tools and training when necessary.

Support and Oversight

The support and presence of the administrator in the A/R process can be a huge boost for the business office staff and their results.  Be the leader of the team.  The most successful facilities we have seen are those where the Administrator takes an active interest in the business office functions.  This does not mean they have to be active in the actual billing. The Business Office Manager (BOM) runs the office and day-to-day functions while the Administrator is the Manager who provides vision, oversight and support.

Oversight is provided by being a regular presence and keeping on top of the current and on-going issues and challenges. Perform regular reviews of the aging report, hold regular meetings with the BOM and the rest of the billing staff and keep tabs on them and the accounts.

Assistance:

Of course it is also very important for Administrators to roll up their sleeves and pitch in when help is needed.  In the case of the A/R, this means stepping in and helping with the tough collections.  The most time-effective way to help with this is to have the Administrator step in to directly call the reluctant residents and families about unpaid bills.  Sometimes just knowing their account has made it all the way to the top is enough to get a family to at least try to work something out with the facility.

Work with the clinical staff about providing clear and complete documentation so there are no questions when it gets to the billing staff.  The documentation they provide the billing staff is the most fundamental part of the billing process.  If it is hard to decipher, incomplete or otherwise questionable or unusable, the billing staff is essentially working with their hands tied.

Help to make sure the communication lines between the billing staff and the other facility departments are open and clear.  The quality of this communication is absolutely key to your ability to promptly and accurately bill your claims.

Tools and Training:

Give your staff the proper tools to do their job well.  Make sure you have a good A/R software system with the tools they need to be efficient and effective.  Consider getting one of the good Resident Trust automated systems if you don’t have one already.  Give them the opportunity to pursue the training they need.  Let them, and encourage them to, do what they can as far as classes, online training and webinars.

Giving your staff the support they need so they have the time to do their job with as few interruptions as reasonably possible.  Time is not a luxury, but simply a basic necessity for your staff to be able to do their jobs. Work with them to ensure they are using their time efficiently and they have the ability to create uninterrupted “quiet” time to be able to process their billing and make those all-important follow-up calls on denials.

Does the Administrator need to spend all of their time in the business office? Not at all. But, her/his presence should always be felt there.  The performance standards, expectations of honesty and integrity, lines of support and training all combine to put your stamp on the business office, and the entire facility.  Simply put, let them know you care about their work, their results, them as employees and people and their careers. Back it up with an open door, consistent support along with timely and effective training.  All of these combined help to create an atmosphere where it is possible to build and maintain a content and productive business office team who combine to produce consistently good results while meeting all of your standards.

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Chances are that you’re leaving revenue on the table. This quick resource guide will help ensure that your office is getting the most from your existing business so you can maximize your revenue without adding a single resident.