Find the Right Billing Company
Help your practice maintain a healthy cash flow.
Feeling overwhelmed by the time and expense of collecting bills for your medical practice? You're not alone.
It's estimated that healthcare providers spend more than $7 billion each year submitting claims to carriers.1 According to one study, assistants spend more than 20 hours per week just on administrative duties.2
One way to lessen the paperwork burden and help maintain cash flow is to partner with a professional billing company. But with the number of healthcare administration specialists expected to grow by 22 percent by 2020,3 it's important to choose experienced professionals who can truly add value to your practice by letting you and your staff spend more time with your patients.
Here are five questions to ask a prospective billing servicer:4
What do you charge? It's the obvious question, but be sure to factor in what level of service the company provides. Since the goal is to reduce headaches, an efficient, hands-on company that offers attentive service may be worth paying more for, rather than one than treats you like an afterthought.
What about money that we collect from patients? Patients who pay in cash, or pay their co-pay directly at your office, require no action from the billing company. Make sure the company doesn?t expect to include those payments when calculating their fees.
Will we have a dedicated rep? With something as complicated as bills and insurance companies, continuity is key--for you and for your patients. You need a representative who will take the time to understand your practice and get to know you, your staff and your patients.
What about denials and delays? This is where a good billing company really earns its stripes. The company should know the nuances of individual insurance companies, including those that habitually deny payments, and be adept at dealing with them. Your billing partner should be asking you regularly for documents ranging from copies of patient health cards to chart notes. You can help the process along by providing these quickly and efficiently.
Will my software be compatible with your company? A billing company that can't interface with your practice's electronic records system might cause more hassles than it solves. With new technology coming onto the market all the time, staying compatible is no easy task. Don't just take "yes" for an answer. Make sure they have a demonstrated ability to deal with your system.
1 American Medical Billing Association. www.ambanet.net/indnews.htm
2 Health Affairs August, 2011. www.healthaffairs.org/press/2011_08_04.php
3 United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Occupational Outlook Handbook." www.bls.gov/ooh/Management/Medical-and-health-services-managers.htm/
4 Clouds-Moulds, P.J. "Choosing a New Billing Partner for Your Medical Practice" PhysiciansPractice.com, Jan. 14, 2012. www.physicianspractice.com/blog/content/ article/1462168/2017654