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Reducing Days in Accounts Receivable: Best Practices by

Accounts receivable (AR) is a critical aspect of any healthcare organization’s financial health. The number of days it takes to collect payments can have a significant impact on cash flow and overall profitability. has compiled a list of best practices to help reduce days in accounts receivable, ultimately improving the bottom line for healthcare providers.

Establish Clear Billing Policies

One key strategy for reducing days in accounts receivable is to establish clear billing policies and communicate them effectively to patients. This includes providing detailed information about payment expectations, insurance coverage, and any applicable co-pays or deductibles. By setting expectations upfront, providers can reduce confusion and streamline the payment process.

  • Offer multiple payment options, including online portals and automatic payment plans
  • Train staff members on billing policies and procedures to ensure consistency and accuracy
  • Follow up with patients promptly on any outstanding balances to prevent delays in payment

Source: Healthcare Financial Management Association

Streamline Claims Processing

Another effective way to reduce days in accounts receivable is to streamline the claims processing workflow. This includes verifying insurance information upfront, submitting clean claims in a timely manner, and monitoring claim status regularly. By minimizing the time it takes to process claims, providers can accelerate payment and improve cash flow.

  • Invest in technology solutions, such as electronic health records and billing software, to automate claims processing
  • Conduct regular audits to identify and address common billing errors that can lead to payment delays
  • Develop relationships with payers to resolve claim denials and appeals efficiently

Source: Medical Group Management Association

Implement Collections Strategies

In some cases, patients may be unable or unwilling to pay their bills, leading to an increase in days in accounts receivable. To address this issue, providers can implement collections strategies that are both respectful and effective. This may include offering payment plans, negotiating settlements, or partnering with collection agencies when necessary.

  • Create a clear collections policy that outlines steps for escalating unpaid balances
  • Train staff members on effective communication techniques for discussing payment options with patients
  • Monitor collection efforts regularly to identify trends and adjust strategies as needed

Source: American Medical Association

Reducing days in accounts receivable is essential for maintaining a healthy financial position for healthcare organizations. By implementing best practices such as establishing clear billing policies, streamlining claims processing, and implementing effective collections strategies, providers can improve cash flow and profitability. By following these guidelines from and other reputable sources, healthcare organizations can optimize their revenue cycle management and focus on providing quality care to their patients.

Key Takeaways:

  • Establish clear billing policies to communicate payment expectations effectively
  • Streamline claims processing workflow to accelerate payment and improve cash flow
  • Implement collections strategies that are both respectful and effective to address unpaid balances


  1. How can technology solutions help streamline claims processing?

    • Technology solutions such as electronic health records and billing software can automate claims processing, reducing errors and accelerating payment. (Source: Medical Group Management Association)
  2. What are some common billing errors that can lead to payment delays?

    • Common billing errors include incorrect patient information, coding errors, and lack of documentation to support services rendered. Regular audits can help identify and address these errors. (Source: Medical Group Management Association)
  3. How can providers effectively communicate with patients about payment options?

    • Training staff members on effective communication techniques and providing clear information about payment options can help providers engage with patients in a respectful and productive manner. (Source: American Medical Association)

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