What is really going on in there during Month End Close?Business Man Displaying A Spread Of Cash

Is your business office operating at its full potential?  How can you be sure your business office staff has the talent, resources and interdisciplinary support to achieve their goals?  What are their goals?  Are you communicating clearly with the Business Office Manager (BOM) and ensuring accountability? It was true in a previous blog and it is even more true now: The Administrator sets the tone.

Making sure that everyone involved knows what the business office goals are is essential.  Of course these vary from company to company, depending on different policies and situations. The truth is that the tasks are essentially the same, it’s just that the deadlines and targets may vary.  Here we will discuss some of the key benchmarks and goals that your business office is expected to achieve.  Part 1 of this series discusses the Month End Close Process.

Month End Close

This typically occurs during the first 3-5 business days of the month, and can be the most stressful time for your entire business office staff.  Some facilities may hold it open a few days longer to capture more RUG rates, but 3-5 seems to be the typical range.  Do you know how many days your business office must close in?  Is this expectation clearly defined? The process can be rather labor intensive for the BOM, with the entering of all the charges for the month, reconciling cash and census, and ensuring the claims and Private bills are created properly.  This is typically your BOM’s most stressful period, and anything the administrator can do to eliminate distractions can go a long way toward having an efficient and accurate month end close.

The administrator needs to know how much time the BOM needs to complete the month end process.  Then they need to communicate regularly with the BOM to ensure the process is moving forward as it should.  Ask questions like:

·        “Are the Pharmacy bills in and entered?”

·         “Is census tied?”

·        “Is the cash balanced?”

·        “Are you missing anything from other departments?”

·         “Are you waiting on any invoices from vendors?”

·        “Do you see any obstacles to closing in X days?”

Communicating throughout the entire process is not only important, it is crucial.  It should eliminate the panic & horror at 4 pm on the last day of close.  Consistent and open communication goes a long way in eliminating the possibility of having to deal with the occasional panic and despair that we have seen occur at facilities at 4 pm on the expected last day of close. Do not wait until noon on the last day to ask these questions. Be a supportive and unobtrusive part of the process throughout.

Know your BOM and how she/he operates, both within their department and with those departments in your facility whose information they are dependent on for billing. Does your BOM wait until the end to deal with those portions of the process they either like the least or have the least control over? Does your BOM trust the work of everyone else in the business office, or does everyone’s work have to be double checked?  Is there one of your departments that habitually provides crucial billing information later than they should?  You will learn a lot about your facility through your familiarity with your Business Office and the Month End Close process, use it to your advantage.  

We hope you enjoyed this installment of How To Ensure A Wildly Successful Business Office  (part 1), please come back for parts 2 and 3.

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