In this article, Nitin Chhoda describes the role of a medical billing company and how it can help a private practice.
There are some important points to consider when deciding about the company you want to work with, whether to outsource and hire a medical billing company, or train in-house personnel.
Some practitioners choose to handle their billing needs on-site through their EMR, while others simply turn that aspect of their business over to a company that specializes in billing, coding, recovery and collections.
Therapists that choose that path should approach the process in much the same way they would to hire an accountant or financial planner.
The Role of Medical Billing
Medical billing is a highly specialized field and clinic owners should seek a medical billing company that employs certified medical billers that have the education and training to understand the more than 120,000 new codes involved when ICD-10 is implemented.
Insurance companies have a wide variety of requirements and restrictions, and the firm’s medical billers should have a working knowledge of them all. Clinicians should also seek a medical billing company that treats their money as if it was their own and has a proven history.
Don’t be afraid to ask for references and proof of recovery percentages, along with the average turnaround time on reimbursements and their annual write-off rates. The medical billing firm must meet and maintain HIPAA standards, work to recover the maximum amount of revenue for the clinic, and provide regular reports on the financial state of the practice.
For many physical therapists, outsourcing their medical billing needs represents considerable savings for the practice. In-house medical billing may require hiring additional staff to handle the complicated and time-intensive process competently and efficiently.
It can also require significant upgrades to the practice’s current hardware and software systems. Smaller practices may benefit most from outsourcing their billing department and it may present the most cost effective solution.The 21st century practice doesn’t rely on paper records and neither should the clinic’s medical billing company.
Medical Billing Companies
Today’s billing companies offer a variety of services that includes many of the capabilities available with an EMR, encompassing patient scheduling, client reminders, verification of insurance coverage and a 24/7 call center. They also provide therapists with information to track demographic groups, cancellations, referrals, no shows and new patients.
Hiring a medical billing company relieves therapists of a time consuming task, while providing clinicians with additional time to focus on patients and their care and an improved cash flow for the clinic.
Billing firms have the financial resources to hire the most experienced and knowledgeable staff, and purchase the sophisticated software and hardware systems.
A facet of the medical billing company that many therapists overlook is the quality of the customer care that’s provided. The medical billing company will often be required to deal directly with the clinic’s clients and will represent the “face” of the practice.
Customer Service Standards
It’s imperative that the medical billing company adhere to the highest customer service standards and represent the clinic appropriately.
Ultimately, practice owners must decide if the cost of outsourcing their billing and collection needs outweighs the expenditures of maintaining an in-house billing department. Therapists with an in-house system should examine their practice to ascertain the efficiency of the clinic’s system. If costs are high and collections are low, hiring a medical billing company may be in the practice’s best interests.