When a practice considers outsourcing its medical billing function, there are plenty of options to choose from. You can work with a large organization, a small billing company, a technology provider, or otherwise, but it’s ultimately not about a billing firm’s size, scope, or software – it’s about service… and more specifically, the quality of that service.
In fact, it can be easy for medical practices to sell themselves short when selecting a medical billing partner. Often, a practice will look to outsourcing as a response to an event, such as an unexpected spike in claim denials or errors, the loss of a key employee (or key employees), or a change in practice needs or structure – as with the retirement of a physician or the elimination or addition of a specialty to the practice’s repertoire.
By looking to a medical billing service only in their moments of need, however, most organizations are pleased enough to simply keep billing operations smoothly through the transition – thus setting the bar for billing-service performance fairly low. Yet when practices make smart, well-informed decisions about which outsourcing partners to work with, they can actually improve overall billing performance rather than just keep the wheels turning.
The key to earning better outcomes from medical billing is quite simple: To choose a genuinely excellent medical billing service as your trusted back-office service provider. So what makes one medical billing firm better than the rest? While that’s difficult to generalize, the following four qualities are crucial.
Loyal, long-term employees: For a medical billing company to be truly great, they should be not only a top-notch business – they should be a top-notch employer. By keeping staff turnover to a minimum, a medical billing firm can ensure that its long-term customers receive continuous, consistent service from representatives they know and trust. Ask a potential billing partner how long their average employee tenure is.
Continuous training & education: With so much evolution happening across the U.S. healthcare space (and much more change to come with the dawn a new presidential administration), it’s important for medical practices to partner with billing services that stay ahead of industry shifts by keeping their employees well-trained on best practices and regulatory policy changes. Talk to any prospective billing provider about how they keep their team’s knowledge up to snuff.
Change management: On the same token, how a medical billing services manages change is a huge measure of its success. That matters during more than just industry changes, such as the shift to ICD-10; when your practice experiences the departure of a physician or transition in your patient base, they should be capable of helping you manage the transition without hurting your revenue. (Ask for examples from their business history.)
Specialty experience: It goes without saying that a billing service should have deep experience in your specialty – but you’re wise to consider where else their expertise lies. If a practice can maintain intelligence and top-tier performance metrics in specialties as complex as acupuncture medical billing, dermatology medical billing, or others, they’re likely to be exceptionally well equipped to handle the everyday concerns of your practice.
...and if you need help from a medical billing company...