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What is accounting?
Accounting is the process of recording financial transactions pertaining to a business. Therefore, a health care accountant can specialize in several positions. The positions in which health care accountants can focus on include:
- Internal accounting
- Auditing, budgeting and
- Managing finances.
Moreover, health care accountants are also responsible for balancing the financial records of hospitals, private care facilities, health insurance companies, and other health-related organizations.
Health care accountants are faced with a big challenge since they make decisions that impact the patient’s overall well-being and satisfaction. Therefore, every health care accountant must be skilled in billing and insurance law to ensure each patient receives the proper care in the most cost-effective way.
What is the role of accounting in health care?
Accounting is very essential in health care. This is because a health care facility cannot operate smoothly without well-allocated resources and an accurate and timely billing department.
These are some of the crucial roles that performed by accounting in health care:
1. Medicine and other health-related services.
Doctors prescribe medicine and provide other certain services to the patients. However, they need to refer the patients to different locations, such as laboratories, for testing and other needs. Therefore, health care accountants keep track of the services provided to the patients and the costs accumulated for proper and correct charging of medical services provided.
2. Insurance companies.
Since physicians have the ability to decide what services a patient needs and being paid for the medical services provided, insurance companies may deny requests from the hospital billing departments that they deem unnecessary. Thus, the health care accountants have the task of learning the appropriate amount to charge for the medical services that will be covered by the insurance company.
3. The health of the patient.
Accounting is an essential profession in a health care facility. This is mostly because health care accountants are responsible for ensuring that the hospital is running cost-efficiently. Moreover, health care accountants are in charge of billing for potentially lifesaving procedures. For example, a patient in need of emergency medical services can be hospitalized for some time in a hospital with no ability to pay or insurance. Thus, the health care accountants need to find ways (like offering reduced rates or setting up payment plans) in which the patients can pay their bills.
Skills needed for health care accounting and billing.
Students must learn how to develop creative, cost-effective solutions and improve various mathematical and analytical skills in order to become skilled health care accountants. These are the skills that students must develop to become expert health care accountants:
1. Analytical and mathematical proficiency.
Health care accounting requires analyzing and computing numerical data. Analytical skills can be used to study insurance policies and records and look for anomalies indicating potentially fraudulent charges. On the other hand, computing skills can be used to determine whether a health care facility is financially stable. For example, by using beds filled in conjunction with the cost of labor to analyze a hospital’s financial stability.
2. Creative thinking.
Health care accountants should be able to think of innovative ways of combating financial crisis in health care facilities like increased labor costs, flat insurance payouts, and other factors.
3. Organizational skills.
Health care accounting requires an individual to work with numbers and to monitor all financial data, from insurance payouts to hospital maintenance costs. Therefore, the ability to organize and maintain all financial records is essential to a health care accountant’s success.