Cost-effectiveness is one of the biggest reasons that medical practices outsource to third-party medical billing services. How do you know if your prospective medical billing company is telling you the truth about their offerings? Will it be too late for you to find out about their performance? How much will it cost you afterward when it's too late?
Medical billing involves claim processing with multiple insurance companies, locations, services, and vendors. Outsourcing benefits include improving efficiency and boosting revenue, but it's critical to make sure you outsource to the right company.
Before you decide to choose the most economical medical billing services to save a few dollars, it's essential to understand the risks and challenges involved. Here are just a few potential problems you may want to know before you decide on your next medical billing service vendor.
Challenge #1 – No Dedicated Support When You Need It Most
When you're running a medical practice and billing issues occur, you need to have quick access to support from the billing service vendor you've chosen. The problem with many overseas medical billing services is that they may be in a different time zone. This is a problem because they could be out of the office at your busiest times. It would be best to look for a company that will be there whenever you need them, especially in the afternoon. The best solution is to have a dedicated account manager who works in your time zone.
Challenge #2 – Subpar Patient Support in Processing Patient Statements
Another challenge you may face if you choose to outsource your billing offshore is subpar patient support. Healthcare becomes an emotional topic for most patients, especially if they owe money. If they call about their bill, they want a timely, clear, and understandable explanation. Time differences, heavy accents, and poor English skills can result in subpar patient support. Poorly run companies may also lack the depth of knowledge of the medical billing industry to address patient problems satisfactorily.
The goal of all your practice processes should be to improve the patient experience to keep them coming back. If they deal with inadequate support from your medical billing vendor, that's a problem for both your patients and your bottom line.
Challenge #3 – Is Medical Coding Included in their Billing Services?
You will also find that most economical billing companies that operate overseas don't offer complete services. It's often helpful to outsource both your billing and coding, but offshore companies may only provide billing services because they don't have the knowledge to offer or properly handle medical coding. Add to that the ever-changing list of CPT codes, changing statutes, LCD's and regulations, these companies will have a tough time offering proper medical coding. Even if your providers like to do their own coding, it's always better to have another eye since it directly impacts the reimbursement.
Billing and coding services work hand in hand. Having them handled by the same company – as long as that company is experienced and knowledgeable – makes sense. When you want complete services for your medical practice, you will find it better to choose local billing and coding companies that can handle all your needs.
Challenge #4 – Potential Lack of Experience
Why are you considering outsourcing your medical billing and coding? Likely because you want to expand and grow your practice while boosting your bottom line. On the surface, most economical offshore services may seem like the answer. While these companies may work at lower rates, they often lack the experience needed to provide you with quality services.
Much smaller overseas companies also lack the resources needed to expand your practice. When growth and more revenue is your goal, you want to partner with a medical billing and coding company that's invested in your future and equipped to help you achieve your goals as you expand.
Challenge #5 – Managing Paper-Based Work Becomes Problematic
Despite the emergence and adaptation of electronic health records (EHR), many parts of billing and coding continue to be paper-based. Here are a few examples -
- Patient Statement - many patient statements are returned due to an incorrect address, which needs re-processing.
- Claim Denials - Need to submit with medical records via paper.
- Appeals Processing - Need to provide physical medical records.
- Secondary Claim Processing - Many payers still require paper processing.
It becomes significantly more difficult for offshore companies to manage these processes. With so much work still paper-based, choosing a local company makes more sense and ensures you don't have to deal with the transfer of paperwork from overseas.
Challenge #6 – Security Practices and Protocols May Be Lacking
Keeping patient information safe and secure is crucial. You want to ensure that no one can collect sensitive personal patient or vendor information. Remember, a breach of information may result in severe brand reputation damage, not to mention a significant revenue loss. Providing access to secure information to offshore billing and coding companies comes with a higher risk that data will be exposed. Billing companies have unique access to patient records, insurance information, financial data, and more. You must ensure that any medical billing and coding vendors are appropriately vetted, which is far more difficult if you're dealing with a company overseas.
It is the last 5% of the entire revenue cycle management that makes outsourcing medical billing service worthwhile. You may need to find out carefully if your new billing company can handle these fine details of the process.
Don't make the mistake of looking only at the dollar signs when considering the most cost-effective billing services located outside of the country. They may seem less expensive at first, but they may present several challenges that can cost your practice more in the long run. At M-Scribe we are proud to be located right here in Atlanta, GA. We work with many medical practices across different practice management software, offering medical billing, coding, credentialing, and ancillary services. To learn more about our services and how we can help your practice, contact us today at 770-666-0470 for a no obligation free consultation with our medical billing specialist.