How does Charge lag time effect the Medical Billing Process?

When we think about capturing charges, the duration between, when a Healthcare Provider sees a patient during and when the charges are created, is often painfully overlooked. This “duration” or delay gap of time is known as Lag time.

In this article we briefly go through how you can calculate average charges lag time, what it entails and how it can be improved.

In the ideal life-cycle of a claim, the charges are supposed to be handed over to the billing department within a day’s time. However, something will always come in the way and cause that delay that further prolong that claim’s lag time. This ultimately directly influence how soon the charges will be coded, reviewed, submitted and eventually the payments will be made.

Calculation of Charge Lag time

In terms of simplest calculation, average lag time can be calculated via determining the difference in days the services were provided (Date of service) to the date the charges were actually captured and created.

Meaning; if the date of service of service 01/01/2022 and the billing department received the charges on 01/03/2022 the charges lag time of this claim would be their difference i.e. 2 days lag time.

Now, do this for the rest of your charges and get an average of that list of charges, this will be your average charges lag time.

This estimation of lag is very key in determining how soon your charges should be submitted and how soon you can get paid for the services you have rendered. If longer gaps were being continuously being overlooked through-out this could also have impact on general aging and delayed payments of the claims. Also, don’t forget about the additional days it added to the re-working of the claims overall.

What can be done to improve your lag-time?

Documentation in-real time

Doing your documentation as go-through your daily visits that includes consultations as well and transcription of your services in-real can make a huge difference in improving your lag-time. Advancements in transcribing and transcriptions of medical notes including even more intelligent dictation process by various EHR platforms and pre-formed templates can make your job even easier.

Keep track of the gaps in-between

Establishing and setting-up a standard lag time for your daily charges can help track you in finding the real reasons of delays.

Place charges in time

With in-time documentation it is also vital that your efforts don’t go to waste. If documentation is done in time properly but the charges are being handed over to the billing department late. This will bring back whole thing into a circle.

Reconciliation in time

A very important key-player is charges reconciliation. A slow reconciliation process can negatively impact your average lag time. Keep-in touch with your billing department making sure the charges are being filed, coded and timely monitored.

In conclusion:

Being accustomed to lag-time delays and shortening it to the possible value, can improve overall quality of the life-span of charges. Considering it significant and important player in your RCM life-span can be rewarding because with each day it can substantially inflate the A/R, causing unnecessary delays in reimbursement of claims and achieving the ideal key metrics for a successful practice.

AltuMED PracticeFit is one of the Industry Leading Medical Billing Software. PracticeFit is the intuitive advocate that your company needs to compete in this cut throat Medical Billing industry. Sign up today and claim your free subscription.

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