While many of us now use mobile banking personally, healthcare organizations seem to still be using the traditional form for depositing EOBs, checks, and so forth to the bank. Mailed statements, paper checks, and the transfer of money to the bank (in someone’s purse, none the less) is still a common practice for many businesses, not just in healthcare.
It’s time for all urgent care clinics to adopt digital lockboxes. Like an old-fashioned physical lockbox where valuables are kept, digital lockboxes have the same purpose. They’re just virtual now—and not velvet lined. Digital lockboxes make finances easier, faster, and most importantly, more secure.
Here are some reasons your urgent care clinic should be using a digital lockbox:
If your urgent care uses a third party biller, your billing company has the ability to transfer or hold funds as desired if you are still using paper checks. This gives them control of your cash flow. A digital lockbox ensures funds aren’t “in the mail” and gives you immediate access to see your revenue. Also, it’s easier to switch billing companies by simply granting digital lockbox access.
Some billers will require you to use their lockboxes, effectively controlling your cash flow. This practice makes switching billers difficult and can take six to nine months to change lockboxes (which could cripple your cash flow). Another drawback of changing billers (when you don’t have a lockbox) is changing the mailing address with payers—which can also take months—and hinders your revenue.
Important Note: A practice to be wary of is billers who have all checks and statements paid to them directly and then transferred to your account.
Using paper makes it easier for employees to embezzle funds. Often for smaller practices, the same person handles receiving payments and making deposits—increasing the opportunity to steal. Paper EOBs are inefficient for searching if patients have a billing question and have to be manually posted to the billing system. Lockboxes eliminate manual transfer of funds and payment entry, along with the possibility for human error—whether on purpose or on accident.
Digital lockboxes makes funds easy to view. Instead of going through multiple channels to see balances, accessing a lockbox is a simple, fast way to view money. You can also grant different parties in your organization varying levels of view-only access. Also, documents can easily be scanned in to the bank and returned to the clinic in the same day. Finding documents is much faster too—with the use of a digital archive.
Making consistent paper deposits at the bank can be difficult, with weather, unpredictable events, and so forth. You may even have to change the person who does depositing to ensure funds stay on track. But with a digital lockbox, you don’t have the physical challenges of paper to deal with. EOBs and checks can be posted on the same day—and you don’t have to risk loss of money or data in a physical trip to the bank. Think of all the time you’ll save.
There are circumstances when a digital lockbox may not be the best option. This is generally the case if you are a smaller urgent care enterprise with one or two locations, do your own billing, and the owner deposits the checks. But for everyone else, digital lockboxes are a best practice.
At DocuTAP, for our revenue cycle management clients, we require the use of digital lockboxes. We do not touch client funds, unlike other billers in the industry who may use control of funds as leverage. Our clearinghouse partner ZirMed works directly with clients to deposit funds into the client’s lockbox—and don’t require clients to use anything else.
Ready to set up your own digital lockbox? Reach out to your bank. They can likely offer to set one up for you and connect you to the accounts you need to ensure you—and you alone—are the one controlling your urgent care’s funds.
Does your urgent care use a digital lockbox? Why or why not?
Reference: Mennegar, Greg. (2011, December 9). “How a Digital Lockbox Saves Money and Prevents Fraud”. http://www.emrsoap.com/how-a-digital-lockbox-saves-money-and-prevents-fraud/