Is medical billing outsourcing necessary? It is, if you want to reduce billing errors, increase revenue, and reduce employee stress levels at your practice.
Medical billing simply can’t be done with maximum efficiency in-house. As you’ll see below, the monthly cost of outsourced medical billing is more than made back by its superior efficiency in revenue cycle management.
A very large practice may have the resources to set up its own, dedicated, off-site billing department. For small-to-medium practices, however, outsourced medical billing is the only way to bill efficiently. In the process, it will also save them loads of money.
For your own sake, and the sake of your practice, don’t underplay these game-changing benefits of outsourced medical billing.
You Have Way More Important Things to Worry About
Medical practices have no shortage of urgent and even life-or-death situations to deal with on a daily basis. The truth is, you simply can’t spare enough time, money or human resources double-checking the less critical details, like billing.
But that leads to an increase in billing errors. In these instances, your patients have plenty of time to spare making sure this unfair bill gets fixed. Of course, this will often lead to a billing dispute that demands even more of your precious time.
This whole system is broken from the start. What you need is a team of people as dedicated to your billing and claims department as your staff is to your practice.
And that’s what an expertly-trained, experienced medical billing service is. They are 100% trained and dedicated to handling your billing and claims so you don’t have to.
They’re Cheaper Than Your Temps
The average certified coder makes over $4300 per month. That’s for one coder with one or more certification. This number also doesn’t include benefits.
With outsourced medical billing, you can hire as big or small a coding team as you need at much more affordable rates. And you won’t have to pay any medical benefits, social security, vacation, workman’s compensation or any other employment costs. These expenses are paid for by the third party billing company.
They’re Better Than Your Temps
Your billing is the one and the only thing your outsourced billing company will ever need to focus on.
They never have to worry about supplies, appointment scheduling, or any part of the medical side of the business. While you and your in-house team deal with all those core functions of your practice, they focus on their one and only job of billing, and they get it done right.
As billing specialists, they are more qualified than cross-trained in-house employees whose focus is split between billing and other duties. This ensures a great reduction in costly and time-consuming billing errors.
It Cuts Medical Billing Errors By a LOT
Statistics confirm the above-illustrated shortcomings of in-house medical billing.
According to recent statistics, U.S. physicians lose a total of $125 billion dollars per year to poor billing practices. It’s also estimated that 80% of medical bills contain errors. As a result, the typical 3-4 doctor primary care practice spends 8-10% of their total revenue on claims and billing.
But unlike your in-house staff, a third-party medical billing service is single-mindedly focused on handling your billing and claims. They have no other duties or tasks distracting them and demanding their time. What they do have is all the time, staff, training, and dedication to get the job done right.
Statistically speaking, outsourcing your billing will reduce billing errors by up to 80%.
It Instantly Saves You Loads of Otherwise Wasted Money
Cutting billing errors by such a huge amount also means saving a huge amount of money, and fast. It puts the whole 10% of the revenue you would lose to billings and claims back in your pocket, minus the cost of outsourcing.
So which one will you choose? Will you pay a third-party company an affordable fee for better billing service? Or will you continue to lose a whole 10% of your revenue doing it in-house?
Once you transition to outsourced medical billing, you’re already saving. They’ll handle all current and future bills, reducing future errors. And, at the same time, they’ll begin “cleaning up” the mess of improperly coded claims, denials and billing disputes you’re already dealing with.
Within a few months, most of these issues will be settled and your billing will be handled smoother than ever. At that point, your outsourced billing service is already saving you more than you’re paying them.
No More Money Lost To Training and Days Off
In addition to the above, outsourcing means huge savings in hidden employment costs as well.
For example, hiring and training members of your in-house billing team is a time-consuming and expensive ordeal. And it’s all lost each time one of them quits.
But when you outsource your billing, this becomes someone else’s problem. A third-party medical billing company hires and trains its own employees. You won’t pay another cent or second on billing training.
You also won’t pay for their unscheduled absences. But you will pay around $3,600 per year for unscheduled absences of each hourly employee on your payroll. That’s an average of $300 a month you’ll save for each employee in your current in-house billing team.
Less Worry and Stress For Your Staff
Handing your billing responsibilities over to another company doesn’t necessarily mean laying off your current billing team. It does mean you suddenly have more employees available for all the other important duties at your office.
This is a huge benefit for practices who are often understaffed. You’ll be able to assign your current billing staff wherever your practice needs the most help.
Another point to make is that this means your employees won’t be overburdened and over-stressed. They’ll have fewer responsibilities to handle and more help to handle them with. Reducing employee stress should reduce costly turnover as well.
More Freedom to Focus on What’s Important
When your practice tries to handle its own billing, your focus is split. You can’t give 100% of your time and effort to healthcare when you’re spending some of it on billing.
Now, imagine being free of the taxing burden of billing and claims. Your team has fewer responsibilities and you have one less thing to manage. You suddenly have a lot more freedom to focus on what you’ve truly been working so hard for all these years.
So, where will you spend this extra focus? Which areas of your practice are most in need of your attention? Imagine being able to give that attention, and how much more efficient your practice will be because of it.
Your training and passion are for healthcare. You didn’t go to school all those years to process bills. So hand the billing over to those most qualified team to handle it so you can focus on what’s important to you.
Less Worry and Stress For You
Those are the external benefits of giving up in-house billing. Now let’s look at an internal one.
Practicing medicine is arguably the most stressful job out there. There are statistics to prove it too.
Physicians are a staggering 15 times more likely to experience burnout than professionals in other lines of work. And they’re almost twice as likely as the general populace to experience emotional exhaustion and dissatisfaction with life.
Physicians such as yourself work an average of 10 hours longer than most people. There’s a fear associated with this position to take more time off because of the lives that may depend on you during your absence.
Worst of all, due to doctor-patient confidentiality, you aren’t totally free to talk with your loved ones about the distressing situations you face at work. And what you can talk about is hard for friends and family to relate to.
Handing off billing and claims may can’t promise you more time off or a listening ear. But it will release you from a significant amount of daily stress at your overwhelmingly stressful job.
It Improves Customer Satisfaction and Engagement
Remember when we said outsourcing can cut billing errors by up to 80%? Imagine how your customers will feel about that.
You’ll earn a reputation for fast and dependable billing and claims processing. That’s a rather large step up from, “That doctor’s office always bills me wrong!”
And dependability isn’t the only thing your customers will find more satisfying.
As stated, freeing yourself from the responsibility, stress, and time demands of billing lets you concentrate your focus on your practice. That includes patient engagement.
You’ll have more time, energy and attention available to invest in each patient you treat. Surely that’s the type of practice both you and your patients are hoping for. Outsourcing makes it possible.
It Makes Change Much Easier
The rules and regulations of the healthcare industry are constantly changing. These changes are often sudden and drastic. And they often don’t leave you much time for retraining your staff and overhauling their entire routine.
If you handle your own billing, you have twice as much to deal with when this happens. You have to overhaul your billing practices too, which means double retraining.
Outsourcing your billing cuts this problem in half for you. Your third party billing team stays up-to-date with medical billing regulations and will handle the billing side of these changes.
That leaves you free to focus solely on the operational aspects. This means a smoother, more consistent workflow and less time and money lost to the readjustment.
Sometimes, billing is the only thing affected by a shift in regulations, anyway. If you outsource, you’ll have much fewer changes to deal with altogether.
It Improves Cash Flow
A dedicated medical billing service optimizes its team and processing methods to ensure the most efficient billing and claims processing possible.
In addition to employee training, the software allows them to automate much of the process. Often times, they use state-of-the-art software to ensure proper coding, reducing errors and maximizing reimbursements.
With outsourced medical billing, you get paid faster and lose less to erroneous claims. Claims and disputes are processed faster and you enjoy a more consistent and reliable revenue stream.
It Increases Data Security
Replacing your temps with a professional billing service isn’t only about efficiency. It also keeps your patient data more secure.
Health records are 10 to 20 times more valuable to data thieves than credit card numbers. And it wouldn’t be hard for a hired temp to take home a handful of these printed copies from work each day.
It’s doubtful your practice can spare any resources for increased security at the office. But this security is part of the package deal you purchase when outsourcing medical billing.
Medical billing professionals take data security very seriously. They know that one confirmed rumor of a data breach can put them out of business for good. And they’re not going to let that happen.
They staff highly-qualified, committed employees and employ state-of-the-art IT measures to protect digital information. Such things are resources most practices can’t normally afford.
It Makes Billing Easier to Keep Track Of
Keeping track of the billing status of thousands of patients is another struggle of in-house billing. It’s also difficult to track the success of any efforts to improve your billing process.
An outside medical billing service tracks these metrics with advanced revenue cycle management software and expert skill. These metrics are essential for forming successful revenue cycle strategies. The billing service will report these metrics to you at your request.
They Hold Themselves Accountable for Improvement
And, of course, they aren’t just going to wait for you to tell them how they can improve their revenue cycle management strategies. They’ll be the first to see and seize, an opportunity to improve billing strategies to increase your revenue.
In such a competitive field as outsourced medical billing, providing clients with the best service available is the only way they’ll stay in business. So they’ll do all they can to re-optimize their already optimized strategies to maximize your revenue.
Medical Billing Outsourcing is Key
The benefits of medical billing outsourcing can’t be overstated and shouldn’t be overlooked. For small or medium-sized practices, there’s no other way to bill efficiently. And there’s no way to bill more accurately.
To increase revenue and serve patients better, outsource your medical billing.