Navigating the transition from billing in-house to outsourced billing services
If your practice has historically done billing in-house, the transition to outsourcing billing can be complicated. Depending on the factors that led you to outsource your medical billing, there are a number of potential pitfalls to avoid.
- Explaining the transition to your staff. Sometimes the change to outsourcing medical billing is prompted by staffing changes, e.g. a biller or billing team member retires or moves on to a new opportunity. This is a perfect opportunity to make the change to outsourcing billing, reduce your payroll costs and improve your practice efficiency. But sometimes the decision to outsource billing is driven by the bottom line and difficult decisions need to be made about staff roles. It’s never a good feeling to let someone go, but if you can’t transition to in-house billing staff to other roles within the practice, layoffs may be essential for the financial health of your business. When one employee is let-go other staff may fear for the safety of their jobs, so make sure you clearly communicate the strategic change.
- Choose a billing service provider you trust. When you outsource your medical billing that company should act as an extension of your back office — think of them as a part of your practice. There are many billing companies who off-shore their staffing, leading to delays and challenges in communication, for both you and your patients. Make sure the company you choose will be responsive to the needs of your practice and pull their weight to alleviate administrative burden from your practice.
- Read and understand monthly/quarterly/yearly billing reports. Many physicians who have historically done billing in-house worry about giving up control when they outsource their medical billing. Advances in EHR and PM technology make it very easy for billing companies to provide their clients with detailed data on their billing performance, and reading and understanding these reports allows you to remain in total control of your practice’s financial health.
- A bargain isn’t how much you pay, it’s what you get for your money. There are some RCM services that advertise rates as low as 2.9%. On the surface, this seems like a great deal. But the savings of 2.9% v. 5-6% can quickly be eaten up by billing errors, poor follow-up and inefficient communication. When you outsource your medical billing it’s important to understand what the responsibilities of the practice are, what the responsibilities of the billing company are, and what their processes are for making sure you maximize your revenue. In a small practice every claim counts and opting for the bargain basement RCM service can be a risky move.
The move to outsource medical billing can be unnerving, but it is one of the most impactful ways that a small practice can reduce costs and improve efficiency. If you have questions about outsourcing your billing, one of our advisors would be happy to discuss the process and assess whether MBA HealthGroup is the best RCM partner for your practice.