Today I’m going to list out a few of the top things that you should avoid when you choose an outsourced biller. You deserve to know just what could go wrong if you make the wrong choice of outsource medical billing companies and hopefully this article can help. I also firmly believe that hiding this information and not facing the challenges you, as a physician, are put through in making big decisions like this is wrong. So lets get on with that list!
1.) Billing Companies May Provide Bad Customer Service, Making You And Your Practice Look Bad
This is true that there are companies out there, big ones, that just don’t really care about your patients like you do. When your patients are calling these companies with questions and problems with their statements they need to be treated as if they were at your front desk speaking with one of your employees. Unfortunately, with some of the bigger companies who have outsourced their customer service overseas this personal interaction just doesn’t happen. This becomes a big problem when a patient is just looking for a little sympathy and a better understanding of their statement. Insurance is complicated enough these days and your patients deserve to be treated with respect, especially since they are just trying to figure out what that statement is telling them!
2.) Billing Companies May Make A Lot Of Mistakes, So You’ll Have To Spend Time Checking On Them
When you outsource medical billing to a third party you need to make sure they know what they are doing. The best way to do this is to get references from them and take the time to call those references! I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but you are busy enough already and so is your staff! I know a lot of doctors like to pass the screening of companies like this off to their office manager, but at the end of the day you, as the physician and business owner, are responsible for making the right choice. The last thing you want to have to do is assign an already overworked employee to watch over what your medical biller is supposed to be doing.
3.) Billing Companies May Be Difficult To Deal With Because They Are Offsite
Many physicians feel this way and in most cases they are correct. One of the biggest fears we’ve seen is doctors feeling like they do not have control over what their biller is doing, especially if they are not in the office everyday. I would argue that if you’re concerned that your outsourced medical billing company isn’t doing everything in their power to track down old claims and harass those insurance companies to get you paid than you need to find a new company. The best way to find out if you are going to be a valued client or just another number to the company is to ask what size practices do they prefer working with. Chances are that if the company is trying to only reel in the big fish then your small (<4 physician) account may not be that important to them.
4.) You Are Liable For The Billing Companies Mistakes
We’ve been in the billing business long enough to understand that your patients do not discriminate between your medical billers and you. If your patients are being mistreated by the outsource medical billing company than it is a direct reflection on you. Not only that, but if your patients can’t get a good answer to their question from your biller they won’t hesitate to call your main line and tie up one of your employees. No one is perfect, but if the medical billing company is creating problems for your patients than they are creating problems for you!
5.) Billing Companies Are Only As Good As Their Lowest Paid Employee
This point becomes especially true when you are dealing with companies that outsource their customer service overseas, which most of the big companies do. If the medical billing company hires the cheapest employees they can find you are bound to have some issues. Their are 3 types of employees in the world today: -1s, 0s, and 1s.
- -1s: Detract from your business. They make mistakes, are hard to deal with, and generally don’t bring any additional value to your business or, more importantly, to your patients.
- 0s: Maintain the status quo. If left alone they will run your business just fine. Just don’t expect them to go out of their way to create additional value for your business or your patients.
- 1s: These are the employees you want to keep around. You can take that well deserved vacation this year and know that when you come back your business will be even stronger than before you left. These people are truly special, they take the initiative and are value creators. They go out of their way to please your patients.
These descriptions are as true for your practice as they are for your billing company. The 1s won’t stick around unless they are treated and compensated appropriately. This is tough to figure out when you are making the choice to outsource or not. Asking to speak with a couple of employees about how they like their jobs or asking those references you called how their interaction has been with their account rep is a good place to start to figure out the type of employee the company employs.
6.) Billing Companies Are Difficult To Break Away From Once You Start
This can be a big problem. You finally made the jump to electronic health records, moved all your billing and information to the cloud, and put your trust into a company to manage this information. What do you do when things go south? Your biller is making too many mistakes, they aren’t treating your patients appropriately, and you want out. Can you get all that data back without a problem? If you do get it back, will it be in a form that you can have converted and uploaded into your new system? These questions make breaking away from a bad billing company seem almost impossible. They hold your business in their hands and if they balk on giving you your data back or try to throw some crazy fee at you when you decide to cancel, you could be in trouble.
7.) Billing Companies Are Expensive, Despite What They Show and Tell You
Expensive is a tricky term. Some companies out there will charge you that industry average (7%-8%) and you’d be better off doing the billing yourself! Others may be cheaper but you’ll get nickel and dimed to death with fees and add on services that should be included anyway! However, there are some companies out there that really do provide you enough value to justify their higher price tag. How much would you pay if that billing company expertly managed your account, went out of their way to treat your patients better then even you would treat them, and tracked every claim to the end of the earth to get you paid? That is the difference between price and value. Cheaper isn’t always better. Unfortunately, expensive isn’t always better either.
So lets wrap this post, up shall we? I’ve listed some of the most common reasons I’ve heard as to why outsourcing your medical billing is a bad idea. This list is probably not all inclusive and I’d love to hear what you think are some of the other things we need to watch out for! Now with all that being said, I need to let you know that outsourcing could be the best idea for your business as long as you pick the right company. Ask the hard questions, check the references, and make sure that if you do chose to outsource you pick a company who understands and has an answer to all of those reasons listed above!