Contractual Adjustment Rate (CAR) is a key metric in healthcare revenue cycle management that measures the difference between the amount a healthcare provider bills for services rendered and the amount they are actually paid by insurance companies or other payers. The CAR is calculated by dividing the total amount of contractual adjustments made by the provider by the total amount of charges billed for services. Contractual adjustments are the difference between the amount a healthcare provider bills for a service and the amount they are contractually obligated to accept as payment from insurance companies or other payers. These adjustments are typically negotiated between the provider and the payer as part of a contract or agreement. The CAR is an important metric because it helps healthcare providers understand how much revenue they are losing due to contractual adjustments. A high CAR may indicate that a provider is not negotiating favorable contracts with payers or that they are not effectively managing their revenue cycle. By monitoring the CAR, healthcare providers can identify areas for improvement in their revenue cycle management processes and negotiate more favorable contracts with payers to increase their revenue.
Contractual Adjustment Rate is calculated by dividing the total contractual adjustments by the total charges for a specific period and multiplying the result by 100. The formula for calculating Contractual Adjustment Rate is: Contractual Adjustment Rate = (Total Contractual Adjustments / Total Charges) x 100
The total contractual adjustments refer to the difference between the amount charged by the healthcare provider and the amount paid by the insurance company or other third-party payers. This adjustment is made based on the terms of the contract between the provider and the payer. The total charges, on the other hand, refer to the total amount billed by the healthcare provider for the services rendered to the patients. This includes all charges for medical procedures, tests, medications, and other services provided. By calculating the Contractual Adjustment Rate, healthcare providers can determine the percentage of their charges that are being adjusted due to contractual agreements with payers. This metric is important for evaluating the financial performance of the healthcare organization and identifying areas for improvement in the revenue cycle management process.
Best practices to improve Contractual Adjustment Rate are:
1. Accurate Contract Negotiation: The first step to improving Contractual Adjustment Rate is to ensure that the contracts negotiated with payers are accurate and comprehensive. This includes understanding the terms and conditions of the contract, such as payment rates, reimbursement methodologies, and billing requirements.
2. Timely and Accurate Claims Submission: Timely and accurate claims submission is crucial to reducing the Contractual Adjustment Rate. This involves ensuring that all claims are submitted within the required timeframe and that they are accurate and complete.
3. Effective Denial Management: Effective denial management is essential to reducing the Contractual Adjustment Rate. This involves identifying the root cause of denials, developing strategies to prevent them, and appealing denials when necessary.
4. Robust Revenue Cycle Analytics: Robust revenue cycle analytics can help identify areas of improvement in the revenue cycle process. This includes analyzing data on claims denials, payment trends, and payer performance to identify opportunities for improvement.
5. Staff Training and Education: Staff training and education are critical to reducing the Contractual Adjustment Rate. This includes providing ongoing training on payer policies and procedures, coding and billing guidelines, and revenue cycle best practices. By implementing these best practices, healthcare organizations can improve their Contractual Adjustment Rate, reduce denials, and increase revenue.
The industry standard benchmark for Contractual Adjustment Rate is typically around 60-70%. This means that healthcare organizations should aim to collect between 30-40% of the total amount charged for services. A higher Contractual Adjustment Rate may indicate that the organization is not negotiating favorable contracts with insurance companies or is not effectively collecting payments from patients. It is important to note that the Contractual Adjustment Rate can vary depending on the type of services provided and the payer mix of the organization. For example, a hospital that primarily serves Medicare patients may have a lower Contractual Adjustment Rate than a hospital that primarily serves commercial insurance patients. Overall, monitoring and improving the Contractual Adjustment Rate is crucial for healthcare organizations to ensure they are maximizing revenue and maintaining financial stability.
Revenue cycle software can greatly improve the Contractual Adjustment Rate (CAR) metric by automating the process of identifying and resolving payment discrepancies. With the help of advanced algorithms and machine learning, revenue cycle software can quickly identify discrepancies in payments and automatically adjust them to match the contracted rates. This not only reduces the workload of revenue cycle management staff but also ensures that the CAR metric is accurate and up-to-date.MD Clarity's revenue cycle software is specifically designed to improve the CAR metric by streamlining the payment reconciliation process. Our software automates the identification of discrepancies and provides real-time updates on payment status, allowing healthcare providers to quickly resolve any issues and ensure that payments are accurate and timely. If you're interested in seeing firsthand how MD Clarity's revenue cycle software can improve your CAR metric, we invite you to book a demo with our team. Our experts will walk you through the software's features and show you how it can help you optimize your revenue cycle management processes. Don't wait, book your demo today!