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Is Outsourced Billing the Answer?

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Medical billing is one of the most time-consuming tasks facing medical practices today. The healthcare industry is rapidly changing; as are billing procedures, meaning there is a lot of information to keep up with. The business of running an independent medical practice becomes more complex with every passing year. Constant new regulations, coding changes, payer rule updates, and performance measures can significantly affect reimbursement. Organizations often put their cash flow and profits at risk when they are slow to keep up with the updates necessary to keep their revenue cycle running smoothly.

There are two options to consider when it comes to practices’ billing and reimbursement. One option is to establish a well-trained, in-house medical billing department within the practice. The other possibility is to outsource the entirety of your medical billing to external experts.

So, the question is, “Why not outsource your medical billing?”

Deciding to outsource your medical billing simplifies the practice’s administrative processes while providing the highest return on investment for your revenue cycle management dollars. Even though the investment is a sound one, there are several questions that to be addressed before deciding to outsource.

‘What will I do with my office staff?’

With outsourced billing, your office can now concentrate solely on the clinical aspects of patient care and the overall experience your practice provides. Additionally, this will allow for more time to be devoted to ensuring that quality of care and patient satisfaction benchmarks are met. This, in turn, will keep revenue flowing in a positive direction.
Studies have indicated that the average biller stays with an organization between one to three years. For most medical practices, that means they are continuously incurring costs to hire and train new billing staff. The cost of labor, along with billing performance, are undoubtedly the most sizable factors making the decision to outsource medical billing.

‘What are the advantages?’

Medical billing outsourcing reduces overhead costs, provides timely submission of error free bills, allows for easier follow-ups, and ensures patient satisfaction. All of these factors come together to result in increased revenue.

While in-house billing departments have grown over time, they do not always illustrate industry best practices. Because of these in-house departments having a scarcity of time and resources, they are required to prioritize the activities at hand. This results in the inability to look outward for new strategies. Revenue cycle management companies have a vested interest in continual improvements to maximize cash flow and efficiency.

‘Is my billing company accountable?’

Successful medical billing companies will hold themselves accountable for results and should be able to provide reports that measure the performance of their billing operations. Many practices that shift to outsourcing billing after having an internal department are pleasantly surprised by the level of reporting accessible. Reporting should be customizable, provide real-time metrics and, above all, meet the unique needs of the practice.

‘How does outsourcing affect my patient satisfaction?’

In recent times, patients are responsible for an increasing percentage of overall responsibility and now have a consumer mindset- a huge change for the healthcare industry. There is valid justification for healthcare organizations to be concerned with patient satisfaction. Credible billing companies are well equipped with expert staff who are proficient at addressing patient questions and concerns. Measures, such as recorded calls and client surveying, should still be put in place to guarantee every patient interaction is handled appropriately and courteously.

Armed with sufficient information about outsourcing their medical billing and what to expect, practices can make an educated decision on what is the best fit for their practice and revenue cycle.