Are you happy with your billing system? Would you recommend it to a friend? Those might be tough questions to answer truthfully, especially if you’re the one who chose your practice's billing software. Still, if your billing—or revenue cycle management—system isn’t living up to expectations, say, it doesn’t enable you to post payments in your practice management system—then your practice may be due for a change. I know; change can be tedious, overwhelming, and disruptive. So, how do you know it’s truly worth ditching your current system and starting anew? Here are seven signs you need a new physical therapy billing system.
1. It lacks specialty or regional specialization.
Sure, medical billers are initially trained in most specialties, but coding and billing rules change every year. If the billing service isn’t current on the specifics and nuances of your specialty, then you can bet that your practice is suffering. The same applies if the billing service lacks regional knowledge—especially if it’s your region in question. The billing service may promise you that they’ll get up to speed on your specialty or region, but how long will that take? And if they’re primarily focused on physicians, will they really make that endeavor a priority?
2. It doesn’t integrate with EMR.
If you’re currently using an EMR or plan on using one in the future, it’s essential that your billing system can cooperate with it. According to this WebPT blog post on the benefits of integrated billing, PT billing and documentation were once separate processes, each with its own set of frustrations. “However, new integrated options dramatically streamline the EMR/billing system workflow, allowing you to run your clinic more efficiently and focus on patient care.” Benefits of a billing and EMR integration include increased front office efficiency, decreased coding errors, easily accessible documentation attachments, and improved access to financial data. I don’t know about you, but those seem like must-haves to me. Every practice should be able to post payments in its practice management system. (Click here to learn about all the billing services that integrate with WebPT as well as WebPT’s own billing service.)
3. It’s falling behind the compliance curve.
According to Power Your Practice, 2014 hit us with three major billing changes: healthcare exchanges, a new 1500 form, and revised CPT codes. Beyond these, we have the compliance beast that is Medicare: PQRS, functional limitation reporting, the therapy cap, and the 8-Minute Rule. And the pace won’t slow in 2015. Hello, ICD-10!
Whoever handles your billing should be an expert in all things compliance and should know every billing and coding regulation under the sun—specifically, how they all relate to your region and specialty. Not only should they be knowledgeable about those things; but they also should be prepared to handle any regulatory changes well before they actually occur. That way, you’re always ahead of the curve.
4. It’s unresponsive or buggy.
Claims failing. Software errors occurring. Both equal lost time and revenue. Technology isn’t perfect, but if your billing service is unresponsive or buggy more often than not, don’t stand for it.
5. It’s server-based.
Downloading software is for the birds. It’s 2014. We bank online; we shop online; we should be able to document, schedule, and bill online, too—meaning from anywhere, at anytime, and on any Internet-enabled device. The drawbacks associated with server-based EMRs exist for server-based billing software, too. You have to acquire and maintain the servers and hardware and tackle the IT issues. Plus, you can only use the software on the computers on which it’s installed, and every single time there’s a regulatory change (read: frequently), there’s another update to download. And, major changes like ICD-10 may require a whole new installation.
6.) It charges for things that should be included.
The customer service for your billing system should be rock solid—and it should be free. Upgrades should be automatic and at no charge to you. And there shouldn’t be annual renewal costs or hidden fees.
7.) It’s not making things better.
Any technology your practice adopts should help make your life easier—and your practice better. Otherwise, what’s the point? To that end, your billing solution should have a clean claims rate of at least 98%—so, you get paid faster with fewer denials that inhibit cash flow. It should also produce a boost to your payment per visit numbers. If it doesn’t, consider that a sign to find a better solution. (For reference, you can check out WebPT’s clean claim rate and payment per visit increase here. We’re pretty proud of both—as well as our 99% clinic retention rate.)
If you’re seeing any of these red flags with your current billing system, then it’s time for a change, because at this point, your billing system is negatively affecting your bottom line and your ability to provide patient care.
Ready for a change? Learn more about the WebPT Billing Service.