Many times we hear physicians asking if they should outsource their medical billing. They hear someone in the doctor’s lounge talk about the 4% of collections an outside billing company is charging, and wonder if they are missing out on saving some money. There are some advantages and disadvantages to outsourcing your billing.
There is value in a medical group practice billing consultant providing you the essential “due diligence” to determine if the advantages of outsourcing outweigh the disadvantages.
Be sure to conduct this thorough due diligence PRIOR to signing a contract. This would include…(1) checking references, (2) reviewing the service’s current processes, (3) establishing a standard reporting systems, (4) assessing the capability to produce custom reports on request, assurance of participation in Compliance, HIPAA, and other P&P’s of your office.
A few ADVANTAGES of outsourcing medical billing include:
- You do not have to buy or add billing software for your office, along with the associated hardware;
- You do not have to recruit or retain qualified medical billing staff;
- Your practice’s medical billing and collections go on even if your office is closed or a staff member is out sick.
- Outsourcing may be less expensive, depending on your current costs for staff, software, and space.
There are also some potential DISADVANTAGES of outsourcing medical billing:
- You will have less control over a key function of your practice;
the flow of information can take longer, and you have to monitor it carefully to avoid bottlenecks at either end.
- Transitioning to or from an outside billing service can cause interruptions in cash flow while Medicare and other payors are notified and process the changes in their systems.
- You need to agree on what reports will be furnished each month, and make sure they come to you. Ask for extra time for an explanation, if you don’t understand them the first time or two.
- Use the same performance benchmarks you would apply to an in-house service – and be a squeaky wheel when you need to!
What’s your experience with best practices in outsourcing healthcare billing services?
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