Optimizing Practice Revenue

Radiology & Imaging Specialists of Lakeland (RIS) is one of Florida’s largest and most respected radiology groups and has provided imaging services for more than 30 years. Headquartered in Lakeland, Florida, RIS radiologists interpret over 570,000 exams annually.

Led by Chief Executive Officer, Ed Goodemote, PhD, RN, RIS serves the central Florida market and currently employs 78 non-physician staff members. RIS started in the late 70’s with three physicians and one small office. Since that time, it has grown to be the imaging leader in Polk County. Currently, RIS has over 20 physicians servicing four wholly owned imaging centers, four hospitals and a large multi-specialty clinic. RIS also provides PACS and other data services to hospitals and multi-specialty groups.

RIS physicians, administration, and staff members have built a strong regional practice. With its seasoned staff of professionals, RIS focuses on addressing the imaging needs of Polk County and offers a diverse range of talent to deliver exemplary clinical services.

A consistently strong and profitable organization, RIS has grown considerably throughout its 30 year history. However, in 2008, the RIS team found it was facing revenue cycle issues as revenue was not responding to volume increases and location revenue was declining. Physician compensation declined and morale was low.

The leadership team grappled with the issues and came to the conclusion that the time was right to pursue a new billing service. RIS sought a solution that would improve revenue, reduce denials, strengthen compliance, improve reporting and allow better access to data. RIS needed an innovative, fast-reacting billing provider.

The ADVOCATE Solution

RIS evaluated the field of radiology service providers and ADVOCATE Radiology Billing & Reimbursement Specialists stood out after preliminary testing showed ADVOCATE’s technology would improve revenue by almost 12%, according to Goodemote. ADVOCATE is one of the nation’s most prestigious and fastest growing radiology billing companies and the only one that provides services exclusively to radiology practices and imaging providers. Through a proprietary, experienced-based technology (EBT) system, ADVOCATE’s billing engine optimizes radiology revenue with statistical precision. RIS now enjoys a same store revenue increase of 24% over last year, more than ADVOCATE projected. ADVOCATE’s technology was able to quickly address RIS’s needs — improving collections, reporting, compliance and every aspect of the practice. This was no surprise to ADVOCATE. The radiology billing industry is in transition and ADVOCATE understands the direction the industry is headed. ADVOCATE’s technology produces consistently high results for its clients, time and time again.

Across-The-Board Benefits

ADVOCATE increased RIS’s collections more than the 12% projected improvement, a nearly 24% increase. The revenue gains allowed RIS to hire and start new imaging expansion projects — not to mention increased physician salaries and morale. “ADVOCATE delivered on every promise and they did it on time. We have been truly impressed with the performance and professionalism displayed every step of the way,” said Goodemote. Reporting flexibility, accuracy and timeliness have been enhanced considerably. Manual billing processes have been replaced by automated systems that produce more consistent and higher quality outcomes. Automation has also reduced manpower needs and allowed RIS to focus its personnel on additional expansion projects.

ADVOCATE’s denial management system has reduced denials by 20%, increasing the amount and timing of cash flow. The denial management system is so precise it significantly reduces future denials.

Partnering with ADVOCATE also helped RIS reduce the days in AR contributing to the increase in collections. Their systematic approach to claims management and their precise “timed interval” follow-up methods ensure every account is addressed in a timely manner. Follow-up times are varied by payor to allow enough time for the claim to be paid. If the claim is not paid in a predetermined amount of time, the carrier is contacted and the resolution process is implemented.

ADVOCATE executed their charge capture verification procedures and generated an additional 3.1% of billing that previously had gone unbilled. In addition, billing time was reduced from a five day lag to a one day lag.

Unexpected Benefits

In addition to the financial benefits provided by ADVOCATE, RIS experienced the increased benefits of a highly developed revenue cycle process that is tailored specifically to radiology and to RIS. One such collateral benefit is patient satisfaction. With timely accurate billing, there are fewer patient issues. This is important to any practice, but crucial for a practice with five outpatient centers.

Staff morale is up because both patients and physicians are happier. Additionally, many manual and monotonous tasks are no longer performed by the staff. RIS physicians and executives were spending too much time on billing related issues; they did not focus on other important areas. ADVOCATE allowed RIS to turn the focus back to running and growing their business, rather than micromanaging the billing process.

Key Benefits

  • Improved revenue by 24%
  • Increased reporting, saving practice manpower and provided internal controls
  • Provided accurate, timely, concise data to run the practice
  • Instituted a complete charge capture verification system-improving exam capture by 3.1%
  • Reduced billing time by 7 days
  • Reduced denials by 20%
  • Reduced AR days by 25%
  • Increased operating profit by 376%


“ADVOCATE substantially improved our revenue, reduced denials, strengthened compliance, improved reporting and access to data. ADVOCATE delivered,” Goodemote said. He added, “ADVOCATE also improved workflow consistency allowing RIS to raise the bar for our revenue performance standards.”