Billing is one of the most important aspects of running a rehab therapy clinic, aside from patient care. But it can also be one of the most challenging, especially if you’re working with a billing process that doesn’t suit your clinic.
The right billing method should streamline your workflow, increase your profitability, and free up some much needed bandwidth. Just think, what could you do with some extra time. With that in mind, we’re going to devote the next handful of post to some billing best practices to help you get your life back.
Our first tip covered auditing your existing process, and tip two discussed the need to shop around. Here’s tip three:
#3: Choose your method—in-house or outsource?
The next question to ask yourself is whether you should outsource your billing or keep your billing in house. Let’s first define each method of billing, then outline the benefits and drawbacks of each.
In-house billing means that you have a key staff member (or several) in charge of billing your claims from your office. If you plan on implementing this method, you should hire a designated billing professional. Having an employee handle billing as a side job often results in a giant headache and more importantly, delayed collections, which for many clinics can mean the difference between success and failure.
In-house billing also requires that you choose a software platform to administer. Keep in mind, though, that no billing software is created equal. Do your homework:
- Research software
- Make a list of the providers you like
- Complete an interactive demo with each
During the demos, make sure all of your key stakeholders are present. It’s important that the software you choose is intuitive, easy-to-use, and includes all of the features you need to properly manage your billing.
In-house billing requires time, labor, and internal expertise. So, if that doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, you may want to consider outsourcing, which essentially means that another company will handle all of your claims processing while you sit back and collect your payments—when it’s done right, that is.
Outsourced billing usually costs a percentage of your total collections (industry average is between six and twelve percent) but each service will have a different price point, different therapy-specific experience, and different service levels (for instance, included claims follow-up or statements might be a higher price-point). But there’s more than just cost to consider. Outsourced billing can definitely impact your clinic’s revenue.
When a front office employee or PT assistant calls off, clinics typically pull the in-house biller to help out, which can result in decreased attention spent on claims. Additionally, in-house employees all take vacations so there may be significant gaps in your claim processing. With outsourced billing, these aren’t issues for your clinic. Sure, there’s a cost, but because outsourced billers are entirely and constantly focused on your reimbursements, clinics can expect their bottom lines to increase dramatically.
Here’s an ROI example: If your clinic collects $100,000 each month and your billing service charges 6.5%, you might assume that you would bring in only $93,500. However, if your outsourced billing service can increase your revenue by 20%, your collections would increase to $120,000, and you would actually net $112,200.
As you evaluate outsourced options, get to know your key contact person for each service and find out what tools they provide for you to keep track of your claims. Many companies feature administrative dashboards so you can monitor your account, obtain details regarding your claims, and respond to any action items.
What experiences do you have with in-house or outsourced billing? Any tips to share?