Medical Billing Company: Everything You Need To Know

Medical Billing Company: Everything You Need To Know

When it comes to your billing needs, hiring a medical billing company may be the best option. Nitin Chhoda shares the important factors that you need to consider whether you’re going to hire a medical billing company or an independent contractor, and how your preferred billing system plays a key role in that decision.

medical billing company definitionMedical billing company is not easy to find and medical billing is no easy job. But for many small medical practices, adding billing to your list of things to do can be overwhelming.

Especially for practices that are just getting started, hiring a medical billing company can be cost-effective and will take a lot of stress out of the process of starting and running a business.

Just like hiring an accountant to do your taxes, when you hire a medical billing company, you are handing off a very important task to an expert in the field.

Price Isn’t Everything

Of course, when you hire a medical billing company, the hope is that you will be paying them less than you would pay a full time medical biller as part of your staff. Giving yourself some financial ground rules or even estimates will help you to determine how much money you should pay a medical billing company for the services they provide.

Medical Billing Companies Should Provide Typical Rates

But in addition to doing the job, they’d better do the job really well. Many medical billing companies will guarantee a certain rate of accepted claims. If they don’t actually guarantee a certain rate, they may at least give you their typical rates of rejected and denied claims so you can tell what kind of job they are doing.

Typically, insurance companies will reject about half of all claims, so even with a professional medical billing company, your expectations shouldn’t be too high. And remember that the time and effort that it takes to handle medical billing really is worth more to you than the cost of hiring a medical billing company to do the work for you.

Medical Billing Company or Independent Contractor

Some smaller practices may have the option of hiring an independent contractor who works part time and remotely. This option can also be cost effective, especially if the price is right.

In many ways, you will have to work out the details more thoroughly with an independent contractor, which may result in better outcomes for billing. But the convenience of medical billing companies is often a big factor in making the decision of who to hire.

medical billing companies

More important than the size of the medical billing company, be sure to hire someone or a company that has a lot of experience and a proven track record.

Your Options

If you are trying to choose between an independent contractor with ten years of experience or a brand new medical billing company that has been around for less than a year, make sure that the employees at the medical billing company have more experience before you take that route.

A medical billing company may have a more standardized system and it may be easier to integrate your data system with theirs, but if they are new to the work and do not bring in the payments that are owed to you, nothing else will matter.

Make sure that whoever you hire can send you reports from their previous work as well as reports for the work they do for you, so you can see how the work is going, too
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Medical Billing Company Is Easier With an EMR

Medical Billing Company Is Easier With an EMR

To make your EMR more convenient, integrating it with a medical billing company is a good option.  NItin Chhoda explains why connecting your EMR system to a medical billing company software will make it easier to use.

medical billing company EMRThere are many advantages of electronic medical records and one of the most often emphasized is the advantage for medical billing staff.

Everyone else in the office can be a bit faster and more efficient, and the medical biller can process information much more smoothly.

But having an EMR isn’t just for those medical practices that do their own billing. Even if you hire a medical billing company, having an EMR will have distinct advantages over processing billing any other way.

Information Integration

The only challenge of hiring a medical billing company is deciding how the critical notes and information will be transferred from your practice to the medical billing company.

The billers will need a lot of information from your practice, and to ensure that information is accurate, you will need to integrate your information systems. It’s possible that this will not be an issue if you have a high quality EMR that records all of your information already.

Make It Digital

If clinicians are recording their appointments and notes using digital media, then the first step is already taken care of. The only question will be how to transfer the information from your practice’s EMR to the medical billing company.

Most medical billing companies will have experience with a number of EMR systems and with figuring out a transfer system. If you hire an independent contractor to handle your medical billing, rather than a medical billing company, they may be willing to adopt your software, making the process incredibly simple. And of course, if your EMR is online, then all the biller will need is access to the site.

Software Developed by Medical Billing Companies

There are also a number of medical billing companies that have decided to design their own medical billing software. This has distinct advantages for the medical billing company.

They can customize the software to suit their needs and preferences. Customized software can be a bit harder to get used to, but in the end it should work better than any other solution on the market because it will be designed with very specific needs in mind.

It’s possible that your practice will need to integrate your system with the custom system that the medical billing company is running.

medical billing companyIntegrated Solutions

Usually, they will have the solution already, offering a satellite feature of the software that can be used in your office. If their software solution is integrated with the Internet, you may be able to access it online.

No matter what you end up doing, having an EMR ready in place will allow you to transfer information quickly and efficiently.

In fact, when choosing a medical EMR, consider the reporting capabilities and features that will allow you to work with a medical billing company. There are plenty of EMR solutions out there that are designed to make medical billing easy, whether you do the medical billing in-house or you hire the work out to a medical billing company.

Physical Therapy Billing: On-Site Patient Credit Card Processing

Physical Therapy Billing: On-Site Patient Credit Card Processing

The ability to accept credit or debit cards as a form of payment for physical therapy services rendered can boost practice revenue.

Presenting patients with simple, convenient ways to make payments and recurring payments if necessary is a way for a practice to minimize accounts receivables and increase cashflow, according to Nitin Chhoda

physical therapy billing process

Credit and debit cards represent one of the most convenient and easy way for patients to pay their bills, while providing practices with a point-of-purchase solution to collect funds before the client exits the clinic.

Physical therapy billing allows patients to make one time and recurring payments at the office and online to boost revenues. Patients are much more likely to relinquish co-pays and fund their healthcare costs if all they must do is provide their credit or debit card information.

Ease of Access

Convenience is the keyword for the 21st century clinic. Today’s population is busy and mobile, with little time left after meeting, work, and family obligations. Few clients carry cash with them nowadays, but virtually everyone has a credit, debit or pre-paid card.

It’s a trend that therapists can utilize to their physical therapy billing advantage. For those who want to move into the electronic age of physical therapy billing,coding and collections, an EMR is the first step. Financial institutions have offered online payment options as a courtesy for their members for years.

EMRs provide the same service through patient portals where clients can make a one-time or recurring payment without the need to enter extensive billing information.

Payments Made Simple With the Help of EMR

EMRs allow patients to make physical therapy billing payments from home or from their mobile devices, and funds can be transferred into the clinic’s account in as little as 48 hours. Practice owners can offer a variety of incentives to patients who pay with their cards, from special discounts to membership programs.

Many credit card issuers offer their own incentives, and when combined with offers from a practice, it provides additional motivation to pay early and often. physical therapy billing patient cardA physical therapy practice is a business and clinic owners must look at every available avenue to collect for their services.

Therapists can immediately determine if funds from physical therapy billing are available so as to initiate a transfer if payments are made at the office.

An EMR with a patient portal allows individuals to pay their bills and manage their financial obligations to the practice more effectively.

The ability to accept credit and debit cards can increase revenue by as much as 23 percent. Instead of waiting up to 90 days for a check to clear, funds can be deposited directly into the clinic’s account for better cash flow. Credit card processing becomes an automatic physical therapy billing process for savings in time and effort.

The Convenience of Using Credit Card 

Accepting credit cards via an EMR is an environmentally desirable solution that saves natural resources and cuts costs for practices. The ability to accept credit cards provides a speedy, flexible and convenient means of delivering a superior level of customer service.

Clinics also gain credibility from established and potential patients. Therapists utilizing physical therapy billing software contained within an EMR are perceived as the most modern and desired therapists. An EMR with physical therapy billing capabilities provides convenience for patients and increased cash flow for clinics.

Credit and debit card processing for one time and recurring payments enables practices to collect quickly for their physical therapy billing services and are perceived better by patients, leading to clients who enthusiastically recommend the practice to family, friends and co-workers. Combined with real time, automatic claim submissions, therapists can significantly boost their cash flow, even in a vexing economic climate.

Physical Therapy Billing: Real Time, Automatic Claim Submission to Boost Cash Flow Reiterated

Physical Therapy Billing: Real Time, Automatic Claim Submission to Boost Cash Flow Reiterated

Paper-based physical therapy billing not only consumes a lot of time but is also prone to claim submission errors that will affect the practice’s revenue.

Nitin Chhoda shares how an integrated physical therapy EMR can produced automated claim submissions and boost cash flow for your business.

physical therapy billingA steady cash flow is a primary concern for any physical therapy practice and it’s one of the most difficult aspects for clinic owners to predict.

Coding errors, claim denials and time spent exchanging correspondence via the postal service reduce the turnaround time on physical therapy billing reimbursements and can quickly place a clinic in the red.

Billing with EMR

The future for physical therapy practices of all sizes is good physical therapy billing through the utilization of an EMR.

They offer superior coding options to reduce denials and errors, while providing paperless electronic claim submissions that reach their destination almost instantly.

Submissions can be transmitted individually as clients are seen or set for a batch submission at the end of the day.

One of the biggest problems facing practices is the need for proper coding and documentation in the claims process to ensure clinics receive the reimbursements to which they’re entitled. Information management is a hallmark of automatic claim submissions, providing crucial physical therapy billing and documentation to facilitate and accelerate the reimbursement process.

Paper Submissions are Reduced

Electronic submissions reduce the need for paper physical therapy billing and invoicing for significant savings and can reduce associated costs by up to 15 percent over traditional methods. Electronic submissions are environmentally friendly, highly efficient and enable therapists to collect for their services in hours instead of weeks.

Funds are automatically deposited in the practice’s account. Coding errors are the bane of a physical therapy clinic and electronic claim submissions offers a wide variety of options to accommodate physical therapy billing by the session, services rendered or treatment setting.

Electronic claim submissions via EMRs are secure and HIPAA-compliant. Claims can be sent virtually to any agency or payer with which therapists work, from private insurance, Workers’ Compensation and TRICARE for veterans to Medicare, Medicaid and clearinghouses.

Software for Physical Therapy Billing

physical therapy billing claims submissionPhysical therapy billing software can virtually eliminate coding errors and drastically reduces the number of denials, post-payment audits and requests for clarification.

When an instance does occur, disputes can be handled quickly and efficiently through electronic methods.

EMR documentation software provides a clear record of the patient’s visit so therapists don’t inadvertently submit claims that contradict coding and billing rules or lack specific billing codes.

Electronic claim submission capabilities allow clinic owners to file for reimbursement from any location with Internet access. The system enables payers to deliver crucial correspondence and responses through the same claim submission system.

Automated Physical Therapy Billing

An automatic physical therapy billing record is created of what was filed and when, along with the current status of the claim. Ceilings on payments and reduced benefits for employee insurance programs are costing practices dearly.

Physical therapy billing software enables clinic staff to verify a patient’s insurance eligibility and range of coverage before they arrive at the office. Therapists can utilize that information to develop a treatment plan that falls within the constraints of the client’s available coverage.

Automatic claim submissions provide enhanced coding options to boost reimbursement levels. Submissions can be set to send individually, or as a batch at the end of the day for added convenience.

Physical therapy billing allows therapists to receive payments in hours or a matter of days instead of weeks for better overall cash flow. Superior speed and documentation significantly reduces errors, denials and audits, while placing more cash in clinic coffers where it can do the most good for the practice and patients.

Medical Coding and Its Trends

Medical Coding and Its Trends

Medical coding can be done by a skilled professional or by a trained physical therapy billing staff. It is important that who ever is assigned this task is knowledgeable and detail oriented because it affects the billing and revenue cycle for the practice.

Nitin Chhoda shares the latest trends in medical coding and the role of ICD-10 codes to the medical practices.

medical coding

Incorrect medical coding costs small practices thousands in revenues each year. Medical coding can be a tricky process and requires the expertise of a trained professional, even with an EMR.

Physical therapy billing software will significantly reduce the number of errors and denials, but with upcoming changes in billing codes, clinic owners may want to consider hiring a certified medical coder.

Medical Coding and Billing

Medical coding is a complex and demanding environment requiring someone with special knowledge and expertise, and who is detail oriented. Some practices combine their billing and coding departments under the guidance of a single person.

A good physical therapy documentation system will include billing and coding functionalities that makes a coder’s job easier, but then clinicians must decide if they’re going to hire a certified medical coder or train one themselves.

Even with a top of the line EMR, nothing can replace the expertise that comes with an experienced and certified medical coder. They undergo extensive education and training, build upon their expertise with on-going re-certification courses, and are fully able to navigate changes and updates in the coding system as they occur.

They command more money for their medical coding services, but trying to train a new coder is time consuming and can cost the practice thousands of dollars while they learn.

The Coding Process

The introduction of EMRs adds another level of difficulty to the billing and medical coding process.

An EMR greatly facilitates the job of a professional coder, allowing them to maintain a constant rate of concurrent billing and coding procedures, reducing the ebb and flow of payments that can severely interrupt a practice’s financial health.

A factor that will radically affect the billing and medical  coding process is the switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes in October 2013 that will introduce 100,000 new codes into the existing system of 13,600.

medical coding trendsCorrect coding is difficult enough – the on-going educational requirements for professional coders will make it easy for them to handle the many changes and updates.

The medical coding changes will affect every medical provider in the country and represents the first comprehensive update since 1977.

The coding changes take into account new diseases that have been discovered, a better understanding of old ailments, new medications and vaccines, and the effectiveness of those medications in treatment.

With mutating viruses and diseases that can be communicated among species, the coding change is long overdue. Global travel and journeys to under-developed countries sets the perfect stage for pandemics.

Switching to ICD-10 Codes

The switch to ICD-10 codes will help all practices provide medical coding that more accurately reflect treatments and procedures. The result is better patient care, quicker reimbursements and fewer denials.

The future is bright for professional medical coders. Their extensive medical coding training is a distinct advantage for practice owners who benefit from their expertise. Better medical coding means better and faster reimbursements, fewer denials, mistakes and errors, and issues can be dealt with quickly and efficiently. EMRs will help medical coders accomplish those goals in an expeditious manner.

EMRs will soon be a fact for every physical therapy practice. Clinic owners who implement an EMR system with correct medical coding will be ahead of the game when the coding changes take effect. Professional coders will play a major role in ensuring that clinicians are compensated for their time and services.

Medical Billing Mistakes to Avoid

Medical Billing Mistakes to Avoid

In this article, Nitin Chhoda reveals the common mistakes in medical billing and coding that can quickly impact the cash flow of a private practice.

Some of the mistakes such as illegible handwriting, use of language and incorrect details can be avoided by using an automated physical therapy documentation system.

medical billing mistakesMedical billing and coding errors, mistakes, oversights and insufficient coding represent the most costly problems that physical therapy practices face, resulting in the loss of thousands of dollars in revenue each year.

The busier the clinic, the more likely it is that the problem will occur. An EMR will help eliminate denials and late payments, but practice owners must make medical billing and coding a priority.

Insurance providers are scrutinizing reimbursement claims more closely than ever before, making it imperative that the person responsible for billing and coding be trained and knowledgeable in the specialized language of the profession and familiar with EMR practices.

Sometimes it’s the simplest codes that create denials and a professional medical billing coder can make a tremendous difference in the revenues collected.

Details

The little things in medical billing and coding can wreak real havoc on revenues and result in denials. Identifying a male client as female, dates that don’t match, using outdated codes and not coding for a multiple diagnosis are just some of the ways therapists slow down their cash flow and generate denials. Illegible handwriting is always a problem and if the writing can’t be read, it can be deemed unbillable. Utilizing an EMR will eliminate such problems.

medical billingLanguage

Coders rely on therapists for the information needed to correctly code claims. The language and terms taught and learned in school aren’t necessarily those used in a real world practice.

It’s important for the therapist to include notes to ensure coders have enough information to bill at the highest acceptable level. Therapists should also impress upon medical billing coders the need to look at the explanation of procedures.

Services

Physical therapists offer a wide range of services and products, but in a busy practice, some may go unnoticed when it’s time for billing. Failure to bill for ancillary services such as, medications and supplies dispensed in the office, along with x-rays and lab work that was performed, are just some of the ways that therapists rob themselves of essential income. Clinicians need to make a conscious effort to ensure that each service, appliance and aid is documented for medical billing purposes.

Documentation

If the service, treatment or procedure isn’t documented, it can’t be billed. Coders can only work with the information provided, even with a technologically advanced EMR. Relying on the coder to “know” that a specific service was provided is pure folly. Document everything in detail and be clear about the type of service offered, including referrals and consultations. It may take a few extra seconds, but the extra time will pay off in greater revenues even in your medical billing.

Up- and down-coding

Medical billing for services at a higher level than documentation supports is embarrassing in the extreme. Many clinicians choose to down-code, hoping to avoid the specter of an audit, and only succeed in cheating themselves of valuable reimbursements.

Insurance Providers

Insurance providers aren’t infallible and it’s up to the practice owner to carefully oversee the explanation of benefits to catch medical billing mistakes when they occur. There’s a tendency to think once the reimbursement claim has been submitted, that’s the end of the process.

In truth, it’s simply the beginning. Insurance companies can lose or misplace claims, or never receive them at all. Therapists who don’t conduct regular audits on the state of their claims stand to lose significant amounts of money.

In the new economy, it’s essential that physical therapists code correctly to ensure they’re reimbursed for their time, services and supplies. Every precaution must be taken to provide clear and concise documentation. The implementation of a correct medical billing EMR will greatly reduce the number of errors, mistakes and denials for the financial health of any clinic.

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