Last month we gave you some marketing tips to get your clinic in good health for the New Year. The next topic we want to consider is a little bit more serious. Many clinics have their billing practices in place and haven’t really considered what options are available. The truth is, your clinic has many options when it comes to billing and switching to a method that makes more sense for you could have a dramatic effect on your bottom line.
Billing is one of the most important considerations you have when running a physical therapy clinic. Billing can also be one of the more confusing aspects of running a practice, especially if you choose a method that doesn’t fit your management style. This month, we are going to be looking at best practices in billing on our blog. In addition to best practices, we’ll cover how to choose the most appropriate method for your practice, implementation tips, and more.
Experience is key. It’s important to remember that you want to have someone (employee or company) who has experience billing for physical therapy. You want to verify that whoever has control of your claims is well versed in the nuances of physical therapy. Having specialized domain knowledge can increase cash flow and decrease the amount of time it take for your claims to be processed. We would recommend finding a professional or a professional company that is trained in physical therapy billing.
The next question to ask yourself is whether you should outsource your billing or do your billing in house. It is likely that you already have one of these methods in place, but it’s always a good idea to audit your process and see what you can do to improve it. Constant improvement! Sometimes this may mean a few minor tweaks and other times, it may mean switching to another method entirely. Let’s first define each method of billing.
In House Billing
In house billing means that you have a key staff member or two who is in charge of billing your claims out of your office. If you plan on implementing this method, you have to have a billing professional in your office. Too many times we have seen clinics attempt to do in house billing without a dedicated billing employee. This usually results in a giant headache and more importantly delayed collections. For a startup clinic, this can mean the difference between success and failure.
In house billing also requires that you choose a software platform to administer your billing. WebPT has an integrated billing software provider, Kareo, that works seamlessly with our EMR. There are a number of other integrations in the works to make this process easier. If you are still using paper or don’t mind having a billing software without an integration, you will want to focus on due diligence with your search. Do an interactive demo with all of the providers who are on your list and make sure all of the key stakeholders are present. You should make sure the software has all of the data you need as an administrator and that your billing staff is comfortable with the software as well.
Outsourcing your billing is another viable option for physical therapy clinics. This means that another company will handle all of your claims processing and you can sit back and collect your payments. Outsourced billing usually costs a percentage of your total collections and each service will have a different price point. If you are scouting out outsourced options, make sure you know who your key contact person is and what their experience is when it comes to physical therapy. Many billing companies claim to handle all medical specialties, but it is important to make sure they understand your business in particular. Make sure that outsourcing agrees with your management style. Many companies are currently producing dashboards to help administrators keep a close eye on your billing, but if you prefer to have control over the day to day operations, outsourcing might not be right for you.
Keep an eye out for a few more blogs outlining in detail, the pros and cons of each method of billing. Choosing the billing option that best fits your clinic is crucial to your success as a business. We will also be hosting a webinar later this month detailing best practices, outsourced versus in house and integrations with WebPT.
What method of billing are you currently using? What do you like about it and why? We would love to hear from you in the comments area below. Happy Billing!