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 or service. Still, if your billing—or revenue cycle management (RCM)—system isn’t living up to expectations, 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 with better billing software? Here are 13 signs that you need to move on to a new physical therapy billing solution:
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 your billing service or vendor isn’t current on the specifics and nuances of your specialty, then you can bet your practice is suffering. The same applies to billing services that lack regional knowledge—especially if it’s your region in question. They may promise to 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? Your clinic can’t afford to wait for those promises to possibly materialize.
2. It doesn’t integrate with your EMR.
In the early days of digitized healthcare tools, PT billing and documentation were separate processes, each with its own set of frustrations. However, times have changed, and integrated EMR/billing options have drastically streamlined the RCM process. As a result, integrated platforms have become the status quo. The 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. Luckily, WebPT not only offers its own billing software and service—which integrate seamlessly with its EMR—but also offers integrations with many other rehab therapy billing solutions. (Check out our billing page to learn about all of WebPT’s integrated billing options.)
3. It’s falling behind the compliance curve.
Every year, there’s a deluge of regulatory and coding updates that PTs have to stay on top of—from modifier adjustments to quality reporting requirements. Your billing program should be up to snuff on all things compliance and should align with every billing and coding regulation under the sun—especially as they relate to your region and specialty. Not only should it be ready to keep you compliant, but it should also be ready 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.
Failed claims and software errors 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. The longer your software isn’t working efficiently, the longer you or your staff is going to have to stay late to complete basic billing tasks. And those extra hours can only add to the burnout that many in the industry are currently experiencing.
5. It’s server-based.
Downloading software is so 2005. Much of our personal and working lives are spent online these days, and rehab therapists should be able to document, schedule, and bill online, too—meaning from anywhere, at any time, 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 yourself. 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 may require a whole new installation.
With cloud-based billing software (like WebPT Billing), you can avoid all of these headaches and work from anywhere—which is particularly needed in the age of remote work and telehealth.
6. The support team isn’t very supportive.
Can’t get anyone from support to call you back? Or when they do call you back, is pulling answers from support like pulling teeth? That might be a sign that it's time to say goodbye. If your RCM vendor’s support team isn’t empowering you to use their solution, it could mean they’re not very invested in their product—or their customers. Furthermore, if you don’t have a dedicated team or account manager who handles your business, it’ll be a lot harder to communicate about your account.
7. It charges for things that should be included.
In addition to being rock solid, the customer service for your billing system should be totally free. Also, system upgrades should be automatic and at no charge to you. And there shouldn’t be annual renewal costs or hidden fees.
8. It doesn’t work on Windows or iOS.
If your billing platform isn’t compatible with your computer operating systems, you may want to consider a program that’s more versatile. After all, your software shouldn’t inhibit you from using the tools you’re most comfortable with—and you certainly shouldn’t have to purchase a brand-new device or conversion software in order to use it.
9. You’re missing patient payments—and your A/R balance is growing.
This is a biggie. With RCM software, there should never be any question about whether or not a patient owes a payment. Likewise, if your accounts receivable (A/R) is starting to climb, it may be because your current software isn’t optimized to easily report and act upon overdue collections. Cash flow is the lifeblood of any clinic, so if your software is making it harder to keep track of what you’re owed, it might be time to find new software.
10. It doesn’t offer you all the features you need.
Rehab therapy clinics need to be efficient now more than ever—which means that billing solutions need to make your billing team’s job as painless as possible. Don’t settle for software that only offers some of what you want; instead, find a billing solution that offers:
- Insurance eligibility verification
- Claim tracking
- Electronic remittance advice (ERAs)
- Explanation of benefits (EOB) and payment posting
- Custom, easy-to-use reports
- Clearinghouse integration
- Patient portal, invoicing, and billing
- Simple, user-friendly interface
- Detailed activity logs
- Unlimited customer support
11. It’s not scalable.
Many clinics are looking to grow their footprint, adding more clinicians and hopefully more locations as they expand their patient base. If you’re looking to expand, you have to consider whether your billing software is able to grow along with you. Solutions aimed at small clinics might not work for you if you’re looking to double your staff or open multiple new offices over the next few years, and while it might not be a problem now, it could be a particularly painful transition if you’re waiting until you’ve already outgrown your current software.
12. Its protective measures could use another layer of protection.
Security breaches are terrible no matter the type of business you’re running—but they’re especially nightmarish for those in the healthcare industry due to stringent privacy and security standards set forth under the Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Even if you’re not willfully disclosing patient information, you can still face stiff financial penalties if protected health information (PHI) is compromised. Suffice it to say that you can’t take any chances when it comes to the security of your patients’ information, which is why you need a billing software that meets the highest standards of information protection.
13. It’s not making things better.
Any technology your practice adopts should 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 boost your payment per visit numbers. If it doesn’t, consider that a sign it’s time to find a better solution. (For reference, you can check out WebPT’s clean claim rate and average payment per visit increase. 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 WebPT Billing.