When it comes down to hiring a medical billing service, one may have a lot of questions that need answers. Why hire a service to do my billing when I can pay my employees to do it in house? What are the benefits? Can I really trust a group of people to control the most important process of me getting paid? What are the costs? If it’s not broke, why should I fix it? The list goes on and on and that is why it can be so difficult to narrow down a decision. Aside from all the questions, doctors must realize that medical billing companies have excellent resources. It is their job to perform this task. They have mastered their craft just as a doctor has mastered his or hers.
Consider the following:
1) How long has the company been in business?
An important factor when hiring a service is like any other. You want to hire people with experience. And in this case, the more the merrier is the standard when dealing with the constant changing dynamics of medical coding & billing. A company that is only a few years old obviously has limited experience. Although it’s relative, what you have to look out for in a company is its ability to evolve. For example, a company that has been around for 15 years is more likely to survive the commencement of the ICD-10 than a company that is 5 years old. A company that has been around for over 20 years dealt with manual billing on paper and was forced to switch over to electronic billing. The age of a company is a very important consideration, if not the most important. The older the company is, the more reputable it is. They are doing something right.
2) Record accessibility
A doctor may worry about full access of his or her records. Will he or she be able to access certain information or will it be difficult to track? At first, it is practical to constantly seek out information from your billing service. You want immediate access to patient records, claims, & explanation of benefits when you ask for it. The good billing companies will have that information out to you the day you ask for it. Not only that, they will be experts at getting you this information sorted out as specific as you may need it. Certain companies are more personable than others and will be able to facilitate requests for information not only faster, but also more efficiently. These are traits of the “good” companies. The great ones stand out when you trust them enough to leave them alone. You know that they are taking care of everything in a timely & accurate manner. What this leads to is less worry, improved patient care, and more free time. Not only that, you will receive a steady paycheck.
3) Utilizing your staff
There may come a point in time when you start to evaluate the efforts and skills of your office staff. How do they utilize most of their time? Are they spending enough time scheduling appointments and following up with patients? Perhaps their billing and coding responsibilities are constantly being interrupted when the phone rings or upon patient arrival. One can only wear so many hats. Another thing to consider is your office staff’s salary. When outsourcing your billing, you can factor in a lower compensation for less work. This will leave room to afford hiring a billing company. Not only will your staff be happier and less overwhelmed, you will begin to notice fewer denials of claims, leading to a heftier reimbursement in the end. Happier staff, happier you.