A medical billing company may be exactly what your practice needs to handle the many non-medical obligations it will inevitably face. These companies can reduce your overhead by taking care of things such as billing, coding and collections. Hiring a medical billing company is essentially outsourcing much of your practice’s work, and as useful as that can be it can also cost your practice a lot of money if you don’t ask the right questions before making any final decisions.
There are a lot of medical billing services out there, and not all of them are created equal. Billing and coding are major elements of a healthcare practice, so it’s important that you ask the following questions to make sure you’re hiring the best company for your practice’s needs.
What Will the Service Cost and What is the Average Time for Receivables?
The cost of a billing company’s services should be first and foremost on your mind. Ideally, you should be paying a percentage of all net collected receipts where permitted. Look for a company that charges six percent or less of net collected receipts; any higher is probably too high for your practice. You should also be asking about any additional charges; billing companies can charge fees for startup, termination, data conversion and patient collections.
The average time for receivables is an important factor when choosing a medical billing company. Choose a billing company that processes receivables between 14 to 30 days depending on payer rules.
A Good Medical Billing Company Should Reduce Administrator Tasks.
When evaluating a billing company, ask what types of code edits and payer rules they use. A good billing company will check for accuracy, coding and correct payment. If a claim is denied ask how the claims get fixed and how long it takes to process denied claims.
Is the Company Versed in More than One Practice Management System?
Different medical practices will obviously use different management systems, and it stands to reason that you will want to find a medical billing company that is well-versed in your practice’s management system. Some of the more reliable systems include Allscripts, Athenahealth, Cerner, eClinical, EPIC, GE Centricity and IDX. These are fairly common, and any company that is familiar with these systems should provide excellent and reliable service.
Can They Provide References?
Reputation is important for any kind of company, including a medical billing service. Ask what kinds of practices the company has worked with in the past; they should be similar to you in size, scope and specialty. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials from satisfied clients or for people you can call directly.
Are They HIPAA-Compliant?
Any organization that deals directly with patient’s confidential medical information must comply with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. That of course includes medical billing companies. Any company that is HIPAA-compliant will be proud to answer any questions you might have so be sure to ask.
Who Will be Handling Your Account?
You should know exactly who will be handling your account within the billing company. See if you can speak to the person or people who will be in charge of your data. A reputable billing company will be straightforward and transparent when it comes to this information.
Does the Medical Billing Company Offer Consultation for ‘Meaningful Use’?
Meaningful Use means being able to correctly demonstrate how an Electronic Health Record or EHR will be used based on certain government-set criteria. A good medical billing company will be able to provide consultation about Meaningful Use if your practice uses an EHR regularly, and they will be up-front about how they will use these records themselves.
Are There Services They Will Not Handle?
Never assume that a medical billing company will take care of all billing and coding duties. There may be some items that are not included in their services, or some that are only included with an extra fee. Clarifying these issues in the beginning will help you plan ahead and either find a different billing service or hire employees to handle certain tasks in-house.
Can They Guarantee Transparency?
As we said before, a reputable medical billing company will be up-front and transparent with all of their data and services. You should be able to receive accurate and timely reports about your practice’s finances. It is your practice after all, and you deserve to know about anything that is related to it even if it is technically outside of your area of expertise.
If you are interested in learning more about the medical billing services provided by Medical Healthcare Solutions please contact us online or by calling Stephen Brighton or Sandy Dallon at 800-762-9800.