Hospitals' gross days revenue outstanding dropped to the lowest level since at least 1986 in the first quarter of 1995, according to Zimmerman & Associates.
The Hales Corner, Wis.-based consulting firm has published a quarterly survey of how hospitals are handling accounts receivable since 1986, and 290 hospitals responded to the most recent survey.
In the first quarter, hospitals reported 65.8 gross days revenue outstanding, compared with 66.9 days in the fourth quarter of 1994. Net days revenue outstanding dropped to 62.5 from 62.8.
Hospitals also reported that uncollectible write-offs dropped to 4.7% of gross revenue, the lowest level since the second quarter of 1994. That compares with 4.9% in the last quarter.
"Receivables improvement can impact cash flow at most hospitals by millions of dollars," said Bruce Nelson, the report's editor. "This is a relatively painless way to beef up the bottom line."
Hospitals also are getting bills out the door faster, the survey said. The average number of days from discharge to bill dropped to 11.1, compared with 12 in the previous quarter.
However, the percent of accounts receivables that were more than 90 days old rose to 30.5, compared with 29.3 in the previous quarter, the report said.