When LaTandra Blue, OD, opened Blue Vision Center in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, in January 2021, she was in a familiar situation for a new practice owner: she and her few employees would try to do as much as possible to keep the practice lean.
Dr. Blue and her husband, a pastor, Camara Blue, had networks ranging far and wide. Their dedication to patient care and strategic marketing efforts paid off, resulting in rapid growth of the practice.
What followed was the overwhelming task staying on top of their billing. “In a new practice, everyone is learning. Our receptionist was managing the billing – and he was doing OK with that, but the postings weren’t getting done as quickly as we’d have liked. And it was very stressful,” she says.
Her reception would try to catch the billings and posting in between patients. If he was in the middle of a patient’s bill and the phone rang, one of these important tasks had to take priority. That’s when Dr. Blue decided it was time to outsource the billing. She turned to VisionWeb for its revenue cycle management services.
“It has helped so much,” she says. “First of all, it frees up the receptionist so that he can attend to patients who are coming into the office. He can jump in to help with the frame selection or other areas. It used to be that billings and postings needed to get done during rare downtime,” she says.
GETTING IT RIGHT
Dr. Blue says that while she and the staff tried to keep up with coding and billing requirements, there were times when she underbilled, or payments were delayed because of a documentation issue. “We were all new to this,” she says. “My husband would help out, but this was a whole new area for him,” she adds.
Dr. Blue also discovered that VisionWeb offered knowledgeable consultants who became an extension of her team. No longer unsure about coding or billing requirements, she could rely on her dedicated representative to provide guidance and ensure accuracy. “That was a headache when we were not sure if we had captured changes in coding or understood it exactly correctly. Now, if we have questions – which is fairly often – I’ll call my point person at VisionWeb, and they help us understand. It’s so nice to be able to say, ‘Let’s just call the billing team to be sure.’”
As a result, not only did VisionWeb streamline the billing process, but it also improved the overall financial health of the practice. Timely bill submissions and efficient electronic fund postings meant faster payments and improved cash flow. With the burden of billing off their shoulders, Dr. Blue and her team could focus on providing exceptional patient care.
BUSY BACK-TO-SCHOOL SEASON
While it’s routinely been busy at the practice, back-to-school season is a particular rush of activity. In her area, students return to school near the start of August. “A lot of parents have delayed their back-to-school exams for kids, so we’re seeing a big rush,” she says.
Now she and the in-office staff are able to have all hands-on deck to greet patients when they come in, help with pretesting, and provide support in the optical as needed. The additional time has also proven beneficial in enquiring about the need for back-to-school exams among other family members when patients contact or visit us.
“We have opened up more slots during this back-to-school season. We want to get this rush taken care of so that students can get their eyewear at the start of the year,” Dr. Blue says.
“In a small practice, we want to be accessible, which means that every person here needs to be readily available. Not having staff members distracted by billing and coding tasks that are piling up has been very helpful.”
Read other stories from WO on how ODs are using VisionWeb Revenue Cycle Management services.