If you've ever had a friend or relative call you to exclaim, ‘My cancer is cured’ you know the joy and relief you get from the news. I’ve heard statements like this several times and have been thrilled for those friends and family members. But, if I’m honest, I always have a tinge of apprehension. I tend to be skeptical about the announcement. I think there’s always that chance the news will turn bad sometime in the future.
I’ve heard administrators refer to rising accounts receivable balances as the cancer in their practice, especially the really old patient balances. Administrators would love to shout, ‘My cancer is cured!’ when it comes to past due accounts. And there are many companies with ‘cures’ out there shouting for attention and proclaiming to be panacea for all your payment problems.
The truth is that there are ways to treat this accounts receivable carcinoma. Every practice (and every ‘cancer’) is different though and will have different results. There are some practices in locations and with patient populations that will never eliminate high patient receivables. There are other practices that will undergo treatment and radically heal their bulging balances. Some will even proclaim that they are cancer-free. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, we believe that every practice can improve and fight the growth of their A/R balances.
If you feel like your A/R has become a ‘cancer patient’, below are some suggestions on diagnosing and approaching treatment.