Looking to optimize your medical billing procedures, but not sure where to start? The difference between well-run medical billing and unreliable billing is more often than not the deciding factor in the success of a practice, even when everything else is run perfectly. Consider these ten components of highly effective billing practices—and consider whether it’s time to improve up your billing team or outsource to medical billing consulting Dallas.
1. Clarity and transparency
The better everyone involved in medical billing understands the terms of the bill, the better off you—and everyone else—will be. Clear, concise, fair billing documentation backed by thorough, consistent explanations will work wonders for your medical billing in all areas.
With patients, a lack of clarity can reduce payments received for any number of reasons;
- A. frustration due to misunderstood charges,
- B. inaction due to confusion,
- C. or even dishonesty relying upon ambiguity as an excuse.
Clarity has the added benefit of improving the ‘customer experience’ and serving to improve your perception among patients and potential patients; it can improve your bottom line wholly independent of its benefits to medical billing.
2. Get claims right the first time
Research shows that your likelihood of successfully collecting on a claim drops severely after the initial interaction; this holds true even when the second attempt should go through but the prior one had errors. In other words, if you get a claim rejected and need to submit something revised, it’s far less likely to be a success no matter the circumstances.
This makes it exceptionally important that initial claims be carefully composed, checked, and submitted with every ‘i’ dotted and every’t’ crossed. You never want to be in the habit of firing off claims haphazardly and digging deeper only in the face of rejection. It can be quite difficult without a medical billing & coding specialist on staff to dig through records and rules, and/or advanced software to code claims efficiently, but it is well worth the investment however you achieve the goal.
3. Leverage appropriate tools
Modern medical billing tools exist for a reason: to make sure your office gets paid for its efforts, whether you’re collecting from an insurance company, the government, or a patient. The complexity of learning these tools and making appropriate use of them is one of the reasons medical billing services are currently thriving; the difference in profitability for a medical practice with effective billing vs. one without it so stark that it can support an entire third party medical biller in the gap.
4. Data collection and analytics
Like so many other fields, modern medical billing can be greatly refined by cutting-edge data collection and analytics. If you’re not already gathering data on who you’re billing, how they’re paying, and a wealth of associated data, you’re missing opportunities to improve your billing practices. If that data is being gathered, but isn’t being processed into something actionable and practical, you’re missing opportunities to improve your billing practices.
5. Collect early
When billing patients, it’s important to acquire as much of the payment at the time of service. There are a number of reasons for this.
- A. It’s easier to get money from a patient standing right in front of you asking to be treated, regardless of whether or not treatment is contingent on immediate payment.
- B. The further from the time of treatment you get, the less important the payment becomes to the patient.
Thus, you’ll see a significant improvement in billing if you push for immediate payment of copays, earlier payments of bills in general, etc. You don’t have to push your patients to an uncomfortable degree to see these benefits, either.
6. Verification and maintenance of data
Data collection only goes so far without verification, so make sure you’re taking appropriate measures to verify the contact information provided. You want to make sure patients inform you of changes to contact information as quickly and thoroughly as possible; there are a number of ways to do this, but a gentle reminder during visits is perhaps the easiest and most effective.
Clear, effective, organized communication is key to medical billing whether you’re collecting on a claim or directly from a patient. It’s important to your success that communication related to billing be handled by trained personnel. This is another area where third-party medical billing is thriving, as a trained specialist is far more likely to successfully collect payments even in cases where bills aren’t yet past-due or in collections.
8. Leveraging different mediums
When collecting from patients, it’s a good idea to leverage multiple mediums where possible. Having permission to leave messages on a phone, send digital notifications, and send traditional mail will give you better results than relying on letters or phone calls alone.
This is another area where automation through medical billing software or a medical billing service can save you a lot of time while greatly enhancing efficiency; reaching out to a patient in a half-dozen ways isn’t often an effective use of time without the tools to support the effort.
9. Educate your team
Everyone who interacts with the billing process should understand the basics of the process, along with any specifics relevant to their roles and patient interactions. This can of course become a full-time job rather quickly, given the complexities of modern medical billing laws and procedures, which means you’ll need staff dedicated to medical billing.
10. Consider the patient experience
While you’re never going to make your patients happy to receive a bill, you can take any number of steps to make receiving and paying those bills minimally frustrating. Bills should be clear and easily understood.
Payment should also be quick, painless, and accommodating; you should make it as easy as possible for patients to pay in whatever manner they prefer. If a patient requires support for making a payment, it should be readily available and effective; don’t accept payments if you cannot provide support for that payment method, as you risk frustrating patients rather than improving their experience if something goes wrong.
To learn more about medical billing optimization, contact CodeRite Healthcare Consulting today and find out what your practice could gain from professional billing services.