There's been a lot written in this blog about the increased financial pressures on small to medium sized health care practices—everything from shifting reimbursement paradigms to increased regulation and red tape and even the trend toward high deductible health policies that put the onus on the patient to pay for much of his or her care. These challenges are well known.
And it's unfortunate that there are not a lot of options for providers to increase the revenue side of the ledger, so any improvement in the bottom line really must come from the expense side. Medical groups really must focus on the business side of running a practice as much as they do on the patient care side—and staffing challenges are some of the most difficult to solve for these smaller groups. Here's why outsourcing makes sense if you're looking for ways to cut costs and improve your business performance.
You don't have to add FTEs even as your medical billing needs increase.
According to a recent study, over the last three years, most practices have seen a 50% to 60% increase in FTEs to handle billing, financial counseling, and collections—even as their revenue lines have remained static or even decreased in some cases. No practice can afford that long-term. Outsourcing your medical billing processes lets you contract only for the manpower you need at a price based on performance. Your practice doesn't absorb the ancillary costs of employees—taxes, benefits, work space.
You get expert-level guidance on medical billing regulatory and compliance issues you may not be able to hire on your own.
As a multi-specialty practice, can you afford to hire specialty-certified coders who are on top of all the changes that affect your practice? Can you hire a compliance expert to ensure your billing practices comply with the ever-increasing regulations? Do you know the ins and outs of your payer contracts and how your practice stacks up with others in your peer group?
Few small to medium-sized practices have the resources to devote to subject matter experts, yet the lack of this information can have disastrous consequences if, for example, a routine audit uncovers noncompliance issues of which the practice may not have been aware. A poorly negotiated payer contract can destroy your profit margin for years at a time.
Medical billing companies like M-Scribe have certified specialty coders and medical billing experts on staff who share their knowledge with your practice to ensure you are never caught unaware and stay in compliance with government and payer regulations.
You have access to cutting-edge medical billing and RCM technology.
There's no escaping that good health IT and Revenue Cycle Managment (RCM) infrastructure can be extraordinarily expensive, even for practices that opt for a cloud-based SaaS package—and inexpensive packages may not have the features you need for effective billing and collection. Of course, there's the inevitable down time for your practice for staff training, upgrades, and maintenance issues, as well.
Contracting with a good medical billing outsourcing company gives your practice access to leading edge, best in class technology that eliminates many of the billing issues that hold up timely reimbursement. In many cases, you also have access to real-time in depth reports that show you exactly where your money is and how your practice is performing.
And there's no cost to your practice for equipment and software updates and maintenance, new hardware, and staff training to manage the medical billing component.
The Bottom Line
If you've been hesitant about outsourcing your billing, ask yourself if you could better control costs and increase your emphasis on patient care if some of these staffing challenges were solved for you. Most practices who outsource their billing experience improved reimbursement, faster collections, fewer regulatory and compliance issues, and overall more robust financial health.
Why not contact the medical billing experts at M-Scribe today for a free consultation?