Hiring a skilled medical billing service can help your practice by greatly reducing administrative costs, ensuring an uninterrupted cash flow, increasing your bottom line, and — most importantly — allowing you to focus on medicine and patient care. But first, you have to choose the right team to work with. Here are the three most important questions you should ask before choosing your medical billing service team.
1. How much does your service cost?
This is probably the first question on your mind when choosing a medical billing service. It is important to obtain complete information on a few key facets of cost in this discussion:
- What the monthly bill amounts to, and whether it’s a flat rate or a percentage of charges collected: Because medical billing services should help you to increase collections, the percentage option is a good one as it aligns the service’s incentives with your practice’s goals.
- Additional fees: On top of the monthly cost, billing services may charge additional fees for initiation, termination, or data conversion. It’s important to factor in these extra costs when you are comparing billing service price tags.
- What services are included: Medical billing services aren’t always made equal, and a cheaper service may be a less comprehensive service. Find out exactly what kind of billing assistance is included and excluded, and ask about different packages that may be available to determine which one best suits your needs.
2. How will my account be handled?
From patient data security to reporting frequency, there are a few things to consider with respect to how a medical billing service will work with you.
- HIPAA compliance: The HIPAA law dictates that all covered entities (providers) and business associates (any companies you contract) adhere to regulations. Everyone who handles protected health information is responsible for ensuring that patient data remains private and is kept and transmitted securely, and committing to breach notification practices. Ask about the medical billing service’s HIPAA compliance plan. What measures do they take to keep your data safe?
- Reporting: Outsourcing a key function of your practice can induce stress if you’re not kept in the loop. Ask about the frequency of reports, and what each report will include. For example, 5 Star Billing provides monthly practice analysis and collections reports, in addition to customized and on-demand reports. Knowing what kind of information you can expect to receive on an ongoing basis and what you can request can help you choose which service you will be most comfortable working with.
- Billing software: What billing software does the medical billing service use? You want something that will work well for your staff and your patients, and make the transition as smooth as possible.
- Account manager: Who will actually be handling your account, and what happens when the person is out of the office? Because medical billing is time sensitive, you want to make sure that you’re always covered, preventing surprises for your practice and your patients.
3. What qualifications do your service and staff have?
Is the billing service you are hoping to contract professional and good at what they do? When you ask about qualifications, be sure to cover the following.
- Billing experience: Skilled medical billing involves in-depth knowledge of medical codes and experience working with patients and doctors, and it is especially helpful to work with someone who knows your specialty. This means that your biller understands the conditions and procedures in your field, and can use this expertise to help you maximize collections. A medical billing service with an established portfolio and experience in your medical specialty is the best choice.
- References: Who can give you a better idea of what it’s like to work with this medical billing service than a doctor who has hired the same service before? Asking for references can give you an idea of what other providers’ staff and patient experiences were like.
Offering healthcare providers customized medical billing services across over 30 medical specialties, 5 Star Billing bundles billing, collection and administrative services — helping you to maximize the time they spent doing medicine. Start the conversation with our specialists at 5 Star Billing online or by calling 480-821-1371.