Contracting out medical billing is a very attractive option. Let me present some examples why this would be attractive.
Staff turnover is an issue. You walk in to work on a Monday morning. The assistant who does your billing announces she is leaving…she wants to spend more time with her family, travel or just relax. This puts you in abind. You have to find someone to do her work. You review your notes and discover that you’ve had three different people do your billing over the past five years. You trained them yourself. This was time you did not spend with patients, did not spend on marketing and did not allocate to your own continuing education.
If you contracted out billing services, you could have had someone else do the billing. You would be freed up to spend more time with patients, improve your marketing and get more CE. You can leave the billing, coding, training and follow-up in the hands of someone who does it every day. You can then think about other things, like running your practice. Staff turnover…will not disrupt your billing.
ICD-10 coding mandates are lurking. During the second half of 2012,doctors’ offices will have to prepare for the ICD-10 coding structure. The coding will become much more complex and yes, there will be a deadline to implement the new coding. That leaves you between a rock and a hard place. You can choose option “A” of training your own staff by yourself or option “B” contracting out the service to a medical billing company that is already up to speed on the new codes. Suppose you choose option “A.” You see patients 40 hours a week, want to spend more time on your marketing and realize you need CE. When will you have time to train your staff and yourself the new billing structure? You won’t.
January, 2013 will arrive and you will be in trouble. Staff will submit claims in the old ICD-9 coding and those claims will be denied. You will have to learn ICD-10 and train your staff. All this while seeing patients, improving your marketing and getting your own CE. It is a very tall order.
Option “B” contracting out billing makes more sense. The medical billing company is responsible for working with insurance companies and collecting on your payments. You can focus on your marketing and continuing education.
Contracting out is something you already do. When you pick up the phone and get a dial tone, you are contracting out telephone services to the phone provider. If you want to call someone halfway across the country, you just pick up the phone, verify a dial tone and call. Somebody on the other end answers within 5 seconds. You don’t have to think about all the technology, cabling and switches that carry your call. You don’t have to think about the phone company or how often they train their technicians. You just enjoy the benefits.
You can contract out your medical billing and let someone else deal with all the details.
Accountability. When you contract out the medical billing, you can hold the billing provider accountable. They get paid a commission on what they collect for you. The more you collect, the more they get paid. The incentive for promptness, accuracy and follow-up is obvious. Fewer delays. Insurers can delay payment to a doctor. These delayed payments can occur if the insurer doesn’t think the diagnosis is medically necessary or the diagnosis is incorrect. They could reach this conclusion if the diagnosis is expired, using a wrong code or doesn’t match the procedure code that you submitted.
For example a doctor might bill for an electrocardiogram and use the diagnosis of a sinus infection. It wouldn’t make sense to bill this together because a sinus infection wouldn’t be a reason to have electrocardiogram. This is one example of why a claim could be denied. Also, if you submit the claim on paper, that could delay payment. When the claim is submitted on paper, someone at the insurer has to type the details into their system. It takes more time and delays your payment.