Do you and your team feel overwhelmed by the medical billing and coding process? Tired of insurance claims being rejected or trying to keep up with new legal requirements? Perhaps it’s time to consider hiring a medical billing service to manage this vital component of your medical practice and streamline your revenue cycle.
What Is a Medical Billing Service?
A medical billing firm or organization offering medical billing services handles the billing component of a medical practice. This involves handling the insurance claims process, ensuring accurate medical coding, and streamlining the overall revenue cycle of a medical practice, clinic, laboratory, or other related entity. Medical billing services are HIPAA certified since they handle a variety of personal health information, usually have experience with different electronic health records systems, and can provide insight for specialty practices, as well.
How Can a Medical Billing Partner Streamline Your Practice Management?
There are numerous benefits for working with a medical billing partner that ultimately traces back to streamlining your medical practice operations. By outsourcing your medical coding and billing to one comprehensive agency, you can avoid hiring multiple staff members to handle various aspects of the billing process. This saves you time and money while ensuring your practice’s billing is properly handled by an experienced agency.
Furthermore, a medical billing partner is able to dedicate their resources to your practice’s success in terms of accurate coding and billing—resulting in fewer rejected claims—plus rapid claims submission. Instead of claims piling up in your office, which equates to letting money sit on the table, a medical billing partner is able to handle the claims process quickly and accurately. Medical billing partners also stay up on the latest regulations or other legislative initiatives that affect the billing process, so you don’t have to worry about using an outdated process or unknowingly ignoring new requirements.
Your medical practice won’t get very far if you're constantly dealing with rejected claims or if your staff is overwhelmed by the time and effort needed for a tedious billing process. Your financial bottom line is critical to monitor and functions as a guide for how well your medical practice is performing and so keeping abreast of how your resources are utilized is vital. With a medical billing partner, your revenue cycle is optimized by professionals plus you can gain insight into the financial health of your medical practice that you wouldn’t likely get from in-house staff.
Top 6 Questions to Ask a Medical Billing Service
When shopping around for a medical billing service to work with your medical practice, consider asking them the following questions to see how well they’d fit within your operations:
1. How Much Experience Do You Have in My Specialty?
A large and highly respected medical billing service may claim to have decades of expertise, but does it recognize and understand the nuances of your particular specialty?
For example, a radiation oncology practice has a vastly different set of needs and challenges than a dermatologist. The medical billing service you partner with should be able to navigate the particularities of your practice without issue.
Part of this question might involve asking about relevant certifications the billing service’s employees have for your field.
2. What Kind of Reports Will My Practice Receive?
A consolidated reporting system is one of the most important benefits of working with a medical billing partner since they have the resources to make that information available to you.
Different types of reports can provide different perspectives on the success of your medical practice—alternatively, data can reveal points of improvement. This type of information is a great resource to have when making informed decisions about the future of your medical practice.
Clearer, more accurate data on your financial performance can be one of the biggest advantages of working with a medical billing service, but if you don’t find out what kinds of reporting they provide you may miss out on this benefit altogether. Ask specific questions about the types of reporting the vendor provides and request samples of their practice dashboards and reporting. Ideally, a demonstration or recorded walk-through of the reporting system would be great.
Keep in mind whether you have special, on-demand reporting needs the billing service must be able to meet. Establish a clear understanding of what you’ll need in terms of financial reports and make sure they’ll be available.
3. What Is the Onboarding Process Like?
One of the most difficult aspects of contracting with a medical billing service—or any third-party contractor, really—can be the onboarding process.
Not only are you going to be transferring loads of data and adjusting to new systems and norms, but your staff, who may be somewhat uncomfortable with the change to an outsourced firm, could become overburdened with responsibilities related to the transition.
Look for a billing company willing to work with you and your staff to lessen the stress and difficulty of the transition. Ensure that they’re willing to formulate a plan that minimizes disruption to your organization and team.
4. Which Parts of the Revenue Cycle Do You Manage?
Some medical billing companies can manage your entire revenue cycle and all follow-up responsibilities. Others offer more cut-and-dry billing-only services. Make sure you understand the difference and determine what your medical practice needs most. Do you want a one-stop-shop medical billing firm, or do you just need some extra help?
Evaluate what your practice needs help with and what you’re doing well on your own. Then, make appropriate arrangements to meet your practice’s unique requirements so you’re not paying for services you don’t want or need.
5. What's Your Approach to Working with My Medical Practice?
This question will help you understand the mentality the medical billing service will have when potentially working with your practice.
Are they more hands-off and unavailable, or do they offer a hotline for questions and maintain accessibility to you? They should be as invested in your success as you and your staff and ideally act as an extension of your in-house staff.
6. Who Can I Call for References?
A prospective medical billing firm may say they’ll be able to increase your financial performance, but can they back up that claim? A reputable and effective medical billing service should have testimonials or case reviews available for you, as well as more than one happy customer available for comment.
Ask for references—ideally in your specialty—who can speak to the medical billing company’s reliability, effectiveness, and their overall experience in working with them.
Partner with NCG to Streamline Your Medical Billing and Coding!
At NCG Medical, we specialize in custom medical billing and revenue cycle management designed to suit your individual needs. We take care of your practice management so you can take care of what’s most important: your patients. Our team of experts has more than 40 years of experience that your medical practice can leverage as a loyal partner in your success.
Our customized solutions can improve revenue management cycles and ensure your practice is receiving the most streamlined reimbursement process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can transform your medical billing.