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Is Outsourcing Your Medical Billing Worth It?

Posted by Lea Chatham

In healthcare, the return on investment on anything is never just about money; it’s also about time and patient care. When making decisions about how best to effectively run your medical practice, you have to think about all three of these issues.

This is especially true for any outsourcing you might be considering. Outsourcing can save time and money, but it isn’t for everyone. How can you be sure that a choice like outsourced medical billing is going to provide benefits in those three critical areas—revenue, time, and patient care—and be the right “fit” for your practice?

Outsourcing is often a better fit for certain types of practices: New practices, small practices, and practices with particularly complex billing. Why? Because hiring qualified, full-time staff can be expensive, add administrative burden to your practice, and be a recruiting challenging in itself.

A billing company provides qualified, trained staff, often with specialty experience or certifications. These staff already know how to use best practices to ensure the medical practice gets paid. For example, only 35% of practices follow up on denials. You can’t afford to lose that money. A billing service usually has a denials process in place to ensure that any denial is managed quickly and effectively. As a result of this and other practices, a billing service will often increase your revenue.

Since the billing service gets paid a percentage of what they collect, there is an added motivation to use those best practices and work hard to get you every dollar you are owed.

Even though outsourced billing has many benefits, some practices don’t like it because it does mean some loss of control — a valid concern for many.

So, how should you decide what’s best for your practice? Ask these questions to help you determine if you can sacrifice some control to focus on other priorities:

  1. Would you rather focus on patients and growing your practice?
  2. Would you prefer to hand over control of billing?
  3. Are you concerned about the time and effort involved in managing staff?
  4. Are you comfortable with the varying cost of outsourcing?
  5. Would you prefer to pay a low percentage instead of full salary and benefits?
  6. Do you lack an understanding of medical billing?
  7. Is it hard to find and/or retain qualified billing staff in your area?
  8. Are you concerned about staying on top of changing reimbursement structures, regulations, and compliance?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, consider outsourcing your billing. If you answered mostly no then perhaps outsourcing isn’t the right fit.

If you do opt to outsource, just remember that to get the most from your billing service you still need to be engaged in your revenue cycle management. Outsourcing can absolutely be worth it to see higher revenue and reduce some administrative headaches, but you still have an important role to play to keep your billing running smoothly.

Be sure you discuss the expectations that you have of the service and the ones they have of you. Be clear on roles and responsibilities so you can make the most of this new opportunity! Then, say goodbye to the billing headaches and watch your practice revenue grow.

Lea Chatham

About Lea Chatham

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