Healthcare professionals are overworked and overwhelmed because they need to handle endless billing, collections, insurance claims and other administrative tasks on a daily basis, making it difficult to focus on patient care.
If healthcare providers want to pay more attention to patient care and spend less time on administrative tasks then they need to hire a reliable and efficient medical billing company. Hiring a medical billing company is a profitable investment as it offers increased control, saves time, improves cash flow and ensures that regulatory compliances are satisfied.
Choosing a medical billing company is not an easy task as there are numerous factors to consider. But selection becomes easier when you know the right questions to ask and characteristics to look for.
Checkpoints to Consider Before Hiring a Medical Billing Company
Here are a few checkpoints to consider before hiring a medical billing company.
Do not hire a company solely based on the number of years it has been in business. Take a look at past experience to ascertain if it has any experience or billing certification relevant to your specialty. The billing procedure can vary by medical specialty which is why it is essential to choose a company that is familiar with your specialty. Always demand evidence of their experience and expertise before hiring.
Selecting a medical billing company is not a trivial decision as it impacts almost every aspect of your practice. Make sure you take your time and thoroughly investigate before hiring. Checking the reputation of the company is vital. It is not possible to judge reputation by simply going through online reviews. Reviews can be deceptive and by trusting them you can suffer the loss of money and valuable time. To efficiently evaluate you need to check reviews from medical professionals as they have a better understanding of medical billing and its challenges.
An honest and reliable medical company focuses on retaining customers and pays close attention to factors that maximum health providers seek. Availability and speed are key factors that clients consider before returning for repeat business. Hire a company that allows you to access and track information 24 x 7. Open and continuous communication is essential for avoiding billing mismanagement.
It is vital that you are clear about the services provided by the medical billing company before hiring. Discussing the services beforehand will ensure that you sign up for packages that are relevant and beneficial for your practice. It saves you the trouble of paying for services that you do not need.
A professional medical billing company should offer additional services like claim generation, claim submission, carrier follow-up, AR follow-up, patient invoicing support, payment posting, denial management support, and consultation regarding the ‘meaningful use’ of EHR based on criteria set by the government so that use EHR regularly and effectively in your practice.
Make sure that you acquire all the essential information about the types of reports a medical billing service will share with you. Check the sample of the reports they send as it will let you know whether the reports will work for your operations or not.
Knowledge of Technology
Medical billing aims to save time by accomplishing more tasks in less time. Efficiency is achieved by using sophisticated billing software and majority billing companies have their own billing system. There are few that have the capacity to work with the system that an organization is already using.
Migrating data from one system to another is a time-consuming process so it is better to choose a billing company that has the capacity to work with an existing system. You need to assess the company’s knowledge of technology specifically of the system you are using.
Security and Transparency
Security is a major concern and challenge for healthcare professionals. To ensure the security of sensitive and private medical data it is important to choose the best medical billing company. Before selecting a medical billing company, you need to make sure that it performs the following tasks:
- Carries out HIPPA training
- Annual background checks on all employees
- For excluded employees, it should carry out monthly checks with OIG
- Anonymous methods for reporting employee violations
- Presence of a competent compliance officer to ensure the protection of data
Transparency is crucial in medical billing. There are companies that give you log in information, allowing you to log in to the system and check financial reports whenever you want. A reputable company will always be transparent with all their services and data.
It is essential that you choose a HIPPA compliant medical company as it ensures that the patient’s health information is properly protected and confidentially handled. HIPPA compliant companies will help in adhering to high standard care, minimizing errors, lowering claims rejections, enhancing efficiency, bringing down costs and making you less vulnerable to fraud.
The cost of services is a major factor in hiring a billing company. Make sure that you understand how a billing company is charging for its services. It is not feasible for medical care providers to experience a sudden spike in billing just after one year as it will disturb their finances. To avoid inconvenience you should inquire about hidden charges. Also, check if there are any discounts for outsourcing a large number of billing requirements.
Flexible Payment Options and Payment Reminders
Payment matters are sensitive and it is crucial that they are handled with extreme care and caution so that there is no misunderstanding. It is better to hire a billing company that offers more than one payment option. Hire a provider that has convenient and friendly methods for reminding patients about due payments and appointments. It is an important task that needs to be handled diplomatically. You do not want to upset patients so reminders need to be considerate and polite while asserting the importance of the task
Coding is physician responsibility but it is important that a medical billing company also has excellent knowledge of coding. Skill in this area ensures that the company is able to identify coding errors and also recommend changes a healthcare facility needs to make.
A respectable medical billing company should be an expert in working with version 10 of ICD (International Classification of Disease Code). Proficiency in ICD-10 codes ensures accurate coding of bills and claims.
Plan for Unexpected Emergencies
Medical billing is a critical and sensitive process. Even minor errors can lead to the loss of large sums of money and reputation. The medical billing company you hire should have a backup plan to ensure continuity of service in case of unplanned and unexpected disasters.
Hiring a reliable medical company is helpful in enhancing the quality of patient care and improving cash flow.